The Works of Anca Vlasopolos 

Anca Vlasopolos published the award-winning novel The New Bedford Samurai; the award-winning memoir No Return Address: A Memoir of Displacement; three collections of poems, Cartographies of Scale (and Wing), Walking Toward Solstice and Penguins in a Warming World; three poetry chapbooks; a detective novel, Missing Members, and over 200 poems and short stories. She was nominated several times for the Pushcart Award in poetry and fiction.

 

All Poems © Anca Vlasopolos 

Extreme Weather

 

you at least only rarely shock me

with romance

 

            after brute tearing by mad winds

                        heaving waters of sky             oceans             tributaries

                                    upon so many

 

            even here in the upper midwest where

                        the hem of Sandy’s mantle swept off the lights

 

            after the great wrench of another election

                        cracking this nation like a whacked coconut

 

the faraway daughter  the closeaway daughter          my friend        i

got sucked

            into this mellifluous mildness

            not wholly masking needle teeth

                        worrying us from beneath

fell for this gift of mid-november day

            weirdly tingeing with tender breath

                        these last hanging leaves

                                    left blushing

                        these last flitters

                                    for they

                                                better than we

know

tomorrow we will huddle

            like snails from jibes

            in our sole casings

                        against cold

                                    against loss



Farewell the Roses

 

             when names of friends            like fading stars

                        are lost to failing senses

                        students’ names in droves fall

                                    lemmings off the cliff of memory


why

do i still remember

names

            of roses planted over twenty years ago


some meaningful         Ingrid Bergman           my mother’s face       

that gorgeous symmetry

            World War Two Memorial

                        Richie Boy Ralph        your father      your uncle

                                    all my lost unknown kin

 

others without much sense

                        Abraham Darby          what’s he to me

            trite      obvious            English Yellow Rose  Red Ribbon

 

on this mid-November Michigan day

i cull the last four

            one a bud        two full-blown doused in exquisite scent

                        one just beginning its unfurling

 tomorrow they’d be bowed beneath the snow

             inside this vase that’ll not survive much longer

they light

            surprised by warmth

                        their peach       cream       blood-red

lamps

          one more time



Habitats

 

in dreams only

you come back

say

            hanging another ton weight to my guilt

why did you give away my clothes    my everything?

how will I live

            and that longtime companion grief wakes      lashes me

 

what shall I say

spotted- and striped-chested birds

            as they return

            to what they’ve known as haven for millenia

            now three backyards’ worth

look                 now only two

soon to be only one

 

and

            inevitably as I leave for my own haunting grounds

 

none



Opal Moon

                                                October child, Christopher Leland, in memoriam

 

the evening after your death

a crescent moon just cleared the rooftops

            translucent

            petal of spent lily

 

heat hung low

the dog and I pushing through the cottonwool

 

when we turned back

the moon

                        risen

glittered

            with brassy conquering light

                        we       left below

                        groped our way

            darkling

 


Paris Sediments


layered under time
when violently opened
the city shows the depths of our ruin
these chambers            baths                theaters            temples
a time when gallo-roman gamins
could frolic in a Seine
not corseted in banks of stone

 

layered across my insignificant chronology
she drives in the spike of memory
for all that’s gone and flown
since last time and all the times before
I stood on these same stones

 

acacias flowering out of season
this early august
at every breeze
shed blossoms on our heads
not heeding grey or sparseness

 

on the boulevard
sycamores
let down
a rattle of dry leaves
reminder
that
despite those stray blooms among our curls
the season
juggernaut
moves on



Sparrow's Fall


what you take to be

an understanding with a wild creature

means merely life is seeping out of it


as with the little sparrow

who hopped away under the cover of the yew

each time I caught her eating at the goldfinch feeder


humbly she left and humbly she returned

I looked away

then saw her—wing awry—hop only on the ground


next day the stupid dog

who couldn’t find a bone if he tripped on it

found her and nearly toothless worried her to death


today a cluster of snowdrops lifts a massive clump

of sodden leaves two inches above ground

when dry they’ll blow away


leaving these spears to pierce the air toward sun

until they split and drop their pearls small bells

pealing with silent laughter at their munificence


irish green wedded to delicately tinged

white blinding brilliance in this world

of drab small quiet deaths



Summer Blues

 

and so it blooms again

            bursts of stars on ends of crosswires

chicory you loved

            profligate         hanging on to road sides

 

            with amber eyes and honey hair

you looked resplendent in its color

the chicory dress clothed you for that last time

but I could not bear to have them crack the coffin open

 

now each summer road

punctuated by these blue flowers

awakens me to you inhabiting that dress

 

o so alive