2 Poems by Frances Olive


In Falling Places

Sway gums on earth hips
hold winter heavy

with light. They carry
this paused heart

without looking. Angels
are sudden with them

where light rises
and leaf lines crack the storm

with flickering detail—
the scrape of animals

towards shelter
over stone.

Sunk garden, in-breath
of valley fall;

a low light ringed
with stone teeth.

The marble gums
pan the sky for spirits,

but abandon grows
in falling places

where deer lie—homely
on this edge of the wrong world

they did not choose.
Still, they grace us

with heavy bodies
intent on life.

mostly, my mother

I have been a million people
mostly, my mother

who wears her face on everybody, a permanent tremor
my mother’s smile

is lipstick on my teeth
as I try to meet her

I only know the middle of these end points

I have rolled my face across her face
stealing from public gardens

the roses, the violets
smudged across my face

as a child’s desire
I have eaten all her lipstick.


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