Harvest Division

The egg we split today
                    name alone suggests separation
Crack: yolk taken from white
careful division, life heaves apart
In one corner there is light
                in the other breaths a dark, muscular animal
A hawk circles
                    a hawk flies close enough
To distinguish his design
                    each red feather
His arc of departure
                    is a return
I was looking out
                    to bright disasters
Behind cool, plate glass
                    I am blooming brighter than the bird
Some days I no longer hear
                    roar of the underground river
The actual rain swollen creek
                    (too much) (not enough)
Earth must be cooking something up
a remainder



At Hellig Hooge
[a small island in the North Sea off the coast of Northern Germany]

It was a hungry sea that swallowed the islands—
I visited their death and resurrection after the wars and
The shore here seeps;
you won’t notice years
have passed.
it was advertised a King visited here, once
                 stayed overnight.
What anatomy
will roll the dice of
its bones?
The island has no engines, only the thick coils
of calf and thighs—
             fear puncture, fear growing thick

(bicycle spokes, thick buttered bakes of mushrooms and cream).

We were drawn to the church
because we heard singing.
What skeleton 
will float in the sea?
                          On the ferry in
the islands rose out from the back of the flat slow sea
carrying only one or two houses each—

it was easy to see how a storm could swallow everything.
What season 
have we found?
The pews of the church
were fenced like tiny wooden boats.
I bought a card to send back home:
are we
reconciled?
            sea frothed

            like boiled over tea

            over the graveyard

                                 headstones
                        like half-moons or crooked teeth
                        and the dead can swim here     are risen

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Iris Jamahl Dunkle received her MFA from New York University and her PhD in English from Case Western Reserve University. Her chapbook Inheritance was published by Finishing Line (2010) and her full length collection Alphabet of Bones is forthcoming from Plain View Press. Her poetry, creative nonfiction, and scholarly articles have appeared in Fence, LinQ, Boxcar Poetry Review, Cleveland in Prose and Poetry, Eaden Water's Press Home Anthology, and The Squaw Valley Review. She teaches at Clarion University in Pennsylvania.