A Poem by Lisa Olstein

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

All These Constellations Are Yours

The ship dreams in terms of water.

Beautiful volume, the world stretches out.
Distant sails look like homing pigeons

whose wings once shown blue.

Little by little we take into our lungs
an echo. This is a way of saying

we do not see it start, yet it always starts
in the houses of the past, in the space of elsewhere.
We dream over a map, desire describing

a nation, a desert, the plain or the plateau,
the horizon as much as the center.
In the domain under consideration,

there are no young forests. Honey
in a hive is anything: white nettle,
blue sky. Space starts to dream

in the animal machine. Look in the eyes
of a trembling hare. The instant when
an animal that is all fear becomes lamb-like

calm is a proof: every atlas an absolute

elsewhere, the non-I woods,
the before-us forest.

Lisa Olstein is the author of three books of poems, most recently Little Stranger (Copper Canyon Press, 2013). She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Texas at Austin.

You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.