The Sky is Unnatural by Frances Boyle

Poem title: The Sky is unnatural Poet name: Frances Boyle Poem: Blue-black vibrations, worn-out moon wanes. Two fish —no there’s a third—  whiskery fish invisible in water, bump against logs, the abstract shame that surfaces  in memory, a shape filled by twisting vines that grow along your nerve endings as a bounty of zucchini spreads in your frame.  You check your phone the way you used to smoke: to distract, to pull you away from intensity to boredom. A morning of dawn-treading,  yawning noons after sleepwalking. A parade of tiny ants, redolent of old rites, fears converted to straw-stuffed rags. 			                The jar  empties, the jar will refill, and a courgette seems to be a cucumber after all when you reach for it in the crisper.   The sturgeon bright, the salmon bright, but  which is which? The way you look                                                in the bathing moon realigns your face to the active crime of not knowing. The sky is unnatural.  If this shell  is hard to drink from, scoop up what’s calm, what’s beautiful, place gladiolas on the burning Marzanna, fill her arms  with poppies. You must not      look upon the effigy, drowned  and aflame, or she’ll inhabit you.  		             You shift from complicity to focus, a ghostly habit. Scraps of red, and hairy stems, will mark 	her whelming, yours.   	     She sits up, ripples wash. And you  surge upward, rise from the pond, grasping vines  that float on your palms. End of poem.  Credits and Bio: Copyright © Frances Boyle An earlier version of “The Sky is Unnatural” was published (as “Drowning Marzanna”) in Poetry Birmingham Literary Review issue 2, December 2019.  It will be included in Openwork and Limestone by Frances Boyle, forthcoming with Frontenac House in fall 2022. Frances Boyle’s books include This White Nest (poetry, Quattro Books 2019) and Seeking Shade (short stories, The Porcupine’s Quill, 2020) shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed and ReLit Awards and winner of a Miramichi Reader Very Best! Award. Her third book of poetry, Openwork and Limestone will be published in 2022. Recent and forthcoming work appears in Blackbird, Paris Lit Up, Madrigal, The New Quarterly and elsewhere. Originally from Regina, Frances has long lived in Ottawa.