Anne Shaw Poems






Call me the bastard child. Fathered

by the whirlwind, lathed

from stone.

No.  Born

in the ordinary, carnal way. Only

not what you’d expected, had forseen.


A perishable snowbank. Porridge in a bowl.

Its surface, called skin, broken by a spoon.


And this name a curio, misshapen wish.

How reconcile


oath of god?


   A landscape gathers, teabright road

   tipping toward a sodden platitude.


Bone, enamel, chitin.

That one might set a table with such cups.


As if, in reliquary, your bequest.


Hence my disinheritance, hence a plethora

           blizzard, feedlot, rift of  stars—

 spilled like a sack of seedcorn on the ground.





Elegy  (IV) How Memory Unbinds Its Amplitude



time leans out of its record    sunsplit    refuge past remembering    here there is no hunger

only a slow insistence    leafstalk bent toward light    the grotto of the gutted trunk

its blunt decay toward grief    the lichen blotched    persistent    leaf mold    detritus of sticks

the club moss    cold and breathing    the leaf edge crimped and breaking from its seed

here there is    no record    the puffball drifts from itself    as if our bodies    gone to spore

particulate    with grief    could drift    no node    no hesitance    to seed us from ourselves

disperse    through the torn    astringent trees    I who could die past knowledge    past belief



the puffball voids its case    to wind    a blind intelligence    deep in its genders    impulse

of itself    across the spans    of frost-cracked rock    the bracken mute and coiled    the residue

of bitter salt    the insect newly broken from its sheath    (the membrane pale and raw  painfully

alive)   the toad whose knotted skin    metallic eye    that this might be    such waste   indifferent

magnitude    to undertake such distances    a vagrant species    such as could be borne



this dormancy    sufficient    to drift in tattered light     the scroll of fern    its increment

as if in gesture    held    the rhizome white    unseemly    snail that crawls upon   this necessary

transit     needful loss    (may or may not settle    may or may not     lodge)   among such number

possible    to ache    possible to issue toward    the knuckled seam of rock    possible to bear

such pulse of will     (may or may not waken    may    or may not fruit)    this errancy

resistless     stalks    its bed



          an opening    of wood rot    the dank    ancestral stench    

to replicate    that populace   to loose   its wash of spore   

    skin cannot hold    against such memory    so many   

            perish    half-alive    in kithless latitudes   

                        one    perhaps    survives      perhaps     goes out






Anne Shaw is the author of Undertow (Persea Books), winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in in New American Writing, Gulf Coast, Green Mountains Review, Black Warrior Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Verse. She has also been featured in Poetry Daily and From the Fishouse. Her extended experimental poetry project can be found on Twitter at



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