Last Line Storm Song

Brazen thief
of words: cyclone, gyre, maelstrom—
nature doesn’t underestimate guilt

or grief, constructs tragic accidents, whole disasters
to create and recreate both.

Holding our faces against this hurricane,
we never speak

And the tree should bend through
the gusts, surrender
auspiciously, even as I take the saw
to deeply, wistfully, cut
at a slight angle: my heart.

We haven’t the ability
to estimate the death toll,

yet. So far, I count five of us.

The most severe casualties in my father’s war
are silent. With the willowy tree,
the more slender

its trunk, the more graceful
in the wind.


Alison Palmer is the author of the poetry chapbook The Need for Hiding (Dancing Girl Press, 2018). To read an in-depth interview about her new collection visit The Poet’s Billow. Alison’s work appears in FIELD, Bear Review, River Styx, Glass, Cream City Review, Salt Hill, and elsewhere. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and a finalist for Eyewear Publishing’s 2018 Sexton Prize, Alison lives and writes outside Washington, D.C.