Prairie Octopus, Awake

By Nicky Beer Nicky Beer
The night’s turned everything to junipers   
shagged & spooked with cerulean chalk-fruit,   
weird berries whiffing of Martians in rut.   
I forget this isn’t my universe   
sometimes. Sometimes I think I was falling   
most of my life to land here, a lone skirl   
in the immaculate hush. In my world   
I waltzed with my ink-self, my black shantung.   

Owls swallow vowels in stilled trees. It’s not   
sleeplessness, it’s fear of what the dark will   
do if I don’t keep a close eye on it.   
Blue minutes leak from the pricked stars’ prisms,   
seep into the earth unchecked. Just as well—   
I’ve hardly enough arms to gather them.

Source: Poetry (December 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2008
 Nicky  Beer


Poet Nicky Beer has earned degrees from Yale University, the University of Houston, and the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is the author of the poetry collection The Diminishing House (2010), and recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, a Discovery/The Nation Award, the Louis Untermeyer Fellowship from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and a fellowship from the National Endowment . . .

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