Mary Cisper

4 poems

 Wild, Honey 

(a spell)


Erratic tongues of light
               wishing matches

                   “peace with all our heart”
(say outdoors)

candle dark      boing boing     flicker

                                                 till sunrise
      quickens      like pocket matches
             reckon    pouring light
(battered doors)

  cut stone      like fury water—
          A wick this far
                    say this spell

the light of running into things
(O poor of heart)

 Forest cats are wild,    honey—
        Spirit   burn
                like wedding matches

  (mossy floor, mossy floor)


 Gathering Turquoise Stones


the shaman is        

        in a field    

               His face reasons      

summer cumulus    


         A year ago     tomorrow
      I read to you       your poems        

              until reason    


was unable to continue      

                Re-tracing the ellipse
                  I toss   dead sunflowers         

                Reason is   

                              a swallowtail     


         All is concealed      

  the blue stones


New Year (a pinhole photograph)



peels the bowl of anemones : salamander same size as 

“salamander” : when the biologist let the ant cut his finger

a red drop drops : a man gives you an apple : 

  occurrence a jar hundreds of fireflies can’t put back : 

  three days ago during his bypass D watched himself flurry : 

  a jaguar deity : snow is not falling : snow is falling



The Silence

Not to say    darkling beetle
                yellowing juniper       cryptogamic soil

   (check your plants, a sign at the nursery says
a frog lives here)

         is not to say badland     came before
  crescendo    when that cliff face       sheared    

(what paper hears,  paper forgives)
            is not to say     gliding

on reaching the dancefloor       breathe
      for a sec           is not to say    

  choreographer     skips like a high horse
   listen     (she canters)

is not to say     the self who doesn’t
           suffer (stay with me)     also leaves   

footprints         is not to say
            the frog isn’t here    (did you check—)

Mary Cisper’s poems and reviews have appeared in Lana Turner, Newfound, PoetryNow, Denver Quarterly, OmniVerse, and elsewhere. Her collection, Dark Tussock Moth, won the 2016 Trio Award and was published by Trio House Press (2017). She lives in northern New Mexico.