UFOs in May by Marjorie Maddox

UFOs in May

May in Maine and either snow, mist,
or dandelion wisps hover above the lake,

shadow-follow a breeze chilly enough to pretend
March, phantom ice crackling below or maybe just

a loon rising, rising. But this is May in Maine,
and it could be swarms of no-see-‘ems gathering

for group think, hanging about a phantom Lakeshore Bar
relocated thirty feet above ripples not going anywhere

in this mid-season pause between hike and hunker down.
And this is May in Maine and it could be winter or summer,

the suddenly present sun tricking you once again
to head out into her best pretend weather of Welcome

to Beauty, to air you can hear with your whole body,
shores that recede into rugged, a month of black flies

beginning to migrate to your neck and ankles,
but not there yet; weeks of whether to keep wearing

the long sleeves and flannel or lounge in bright rays
with nothing but a foolish tourist T-shirt and Deep Woods

spray to save you. And it is May in Maine and you are so
deliriously content that you wave both hello and goodbye

to the snow, mist, or dandelion wisps out all morning
migrating above the lake as you walk out now to the deck

to greet them, welcome them no matter what
or in what form they are. As do they for you.


English Professor at Commonwealth University, Marjorie Maddox has published 14 collections of poetry (most recently Begin with a Question [paracletepress.com] and the ekphrastic collections Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For [shantiarts.co] and In the Museum of My Daughter’s Mind + the prose collection What She Was Saying [amazon.com]; children’s books; an anthology on PA. www.marjoriemaddox.com [marjoriemaddox.com]

THIS IS CRAZY by Marianne Boruch


dot/dashed into mantra
    the abandoned telegraph way, sand for decades
    claiming the first station

that ghosted code and voice, lost urgencies in that
    drift between States, States of Being like
    South Australia, Western Australia, dreaded
    Nullarbor Plain threading one to the other near
    the bluest bight, our plan to wander–
    And risk water and life out there? They said no,

do not, do not…

Of course, cautions went legend: few decent wells,
     scarce gasoline in the Outback, no fully
     sealed roads, UFOs hovering in wait, thieving
     would-be murderers in dust and low growth
     fake-begging rides.

Oh yes, we were warned at suppers and carparks,
     in hallways, on trails, even my drawing group
     spoke up, sweetest art center in Belconnen
     where we worried our parking out front illegal.

But this new word to me: tablelands in Canberra
     meant: stay. All those warnings = stay with us.

Land as table, as if you could sit down forever,
     pure evening solace of
     plate, a cup warm or cool to the brim is how
     I first loved that word before
     knowing what, if anything, of altitude.

No one says down under there.


Marianne Boruch’s ten books of poetry include The Anti-Grief (Copper Canyon, 2019), her prose–three essay collections, most recently The Little Death of Self (Michigan, 2017), and a memoir about hitchhiking in the early ’70s, The Glimpse Traveler (Indiana, 2011). Among her honors are a Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award and fellowships/residencies from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center and two national parks (Denali and Isle Royale). Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Field, American Poetry Review, POETRY, The New England Review, Field, the New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, Kenyon Review, Volt and elsewhere. On a 2019 Senior Research Fulbright in Australia, she observed that country’s astonishing wildlife to write Dark Bestiary, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press this October. Going rogue and emeritus in 2018 from Purdue University, Boruch continues to teach in the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.