Her poems have appeared in The New Quarterly, Contemporary Verse 2, Arc, Grain,
PRISM, Sixth Finch, subterrain, Pageboy,
The Malahat Review and
Her poems have appeared.
But sometimes not.
One appeared on a clear day, in the glistening distance.
One mushroomed into ghastly view at dusk.
Pollen appeared, without apology. She batted it away.
One thing came in waves, like things do.
She ruined one carelessly.
She ruined one with exquisite precision.
One disappeared. That one was her father.
One was not a satellite.
Another was not a star.
Some of her words have appeared in black and white, white, black, carbon, crow,
welter white, static, ghost, snow blue, opal, chocolate, mute, mountain,
feather, father, neutral, kernel, coral, suture, marrow, melon, melody,
elegy, tunnel, lime, and beige.
One conveyed a single colour without understanding why. A self-satisfied pink sky.
She first appeared in 1985, blinking slowly. Also pink.
Once the sky hovered over her, and for a long time she needed
no other kind of home.
Once at customs, they asked why she was returning home
and she said, My father died.
The voice in her throat sounded clean and new.
The voice was astringent and bright.
The voice was celestial, answering everything.
The voice was an unknown well of lunar ice.
When Leta asked, the voice told her, He took his own life.
Once she crossed the border, she didn’t think about mythology.
Once she crossed the border, she didn’t think about taxonomy.
Once she crossed the border, she didn’t think about Rilke.
The change occurred.
She heard it.
When she crossed the border, it crackled.
She thinks a lot about licorice,
which is to say, her body.
She thinks a lot about her body,
which is to say, power and time.
She thinks about the power of sweet red licorice in relation to her body
all the time.
She thinks a lot about appetite,
which is to say, sudden death.
She thinks about sugar and power and bodies and her father’s sudden death,
all in relation to time.
In 1985, both bodies were alive. One washed the other in a sink.
She thinks: all the sweet-smelling necks of all living bodies.
She eats ropes of red licorice and thinks of this.
Amanda Baker-Patterson lives and writes in Seattle.