Alix Anne Shaw


Having Once Tasted Flight

Because your body was an orphanage, my sleep a ragged allowance
bartered from the day’s accustomed span,
we turned the lamp’s small monocle to hover
near the floor. How else to shut that acreage away.
The grasses’ tessellations, the elm tree’s
raspy leaves. We learned. No tantra
razed our dark. At ten, the nerves hushed down.
Then our sheets became a parsonage, temperate and cool
as we dreamed of dogs and marshes, of salt-seams where you’d carve
statues that could gesture but not speak. When we woke
to each allotted day, we turned the gasping key, joked about the morning’s
smoky brakes. You poured the coffee. Apples, pears
arrayed on small clear plate. Don’t tell me where
to press or cut. Don’t try to say what clots. We can’t
reverse the landscape, unsay your body’s
swollen antonym. Those absent syllables. My face
as ever, washable and spare, halved by bathroom’s glass.


AnneShawAlix Anne Shaw is the author of two poetry collections: Dido in Winter (Persea 2014) and Undertow (Persea 2007), winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize. Her poems and reviews have appeared in Harvard Review, Black Warrior Review, Denver Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, The Kenyon Review, and New American Writing. She is currently an MFA candidate in Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work can be found online at