Sasha Steensen

If there is no perception which is not full of memory, then this:


              Outer darkness



                                                        looks like a liar inside



I learned by heart
that a fold in the brain


                                         or welded together
                                         in the swale light
                                          where the yeasty Ohio meets
                                         another in fellowship



              & the vegetation is ranker
              but richer, like a rotting whale
              whose oils survived
              for the word erstwhile


                                                                        in outer darkness

& in easterlies


                                                                                  whilst flower again



while the fold in the brain
                                         not woven


                                         or welded together
                                         in the swale light
                                         where the yeasty Ohio meets
                                         another in fellowship


              & the vegetation is ranker
               but richer, like a rotting whale
               whose oils have survived



                                                            looks like a liar inside

              which himself looks
              for the word erstwhile



                                                                        in outer darkness

& in easterlies


Five Forests


Am forced
among the frost
finding there
how many owls
hung themselves this yr
in the forest?






                                                                                    who comes forth
                                                                                    from the forest
                                                                                                stepping softly into the water

                                                                                    like a curlew with its swarm
                                                                                    of lightening bugs




            beside the forest I fell asleep
and who knew whose hart had fallen
from the porch I hurt myself on a nail
and jumped about
as if the birthing pain
mothers say
some day
from memory
would be so chased away


a way
by hewers & others
20 yrs before


I see baby inside
playing with curtains
will they tumble
rod and all
onto her baby body
hurting her
should I stop
this nonsense
back & check


or write another



4. Logging


a surface                      of the forest         mulched
every day                     there lays             avery
lichens                         itself                     to
be                                come                    logged
&                                 loaded     with ferns
in                                 her                       trunk
filling                           the                       truck
with firewood for                        winter
who                             uproots                but a husband
looking                        ahead lurking     be
hind hides                    skinned                and hung
up                                to dry                   but for
the beads                     of blood               wiped up
his deerness                 to me                  what violence is lodged in the name I want for our second daughter: Violet





that which flows out is effluent elbowroom

on all five sides            until                                                     here come the houses


to our countryside
we must say our goodbyes




The month hath thirty days


gathered just west of us


is us


one of the reasons      
one goes to the country




is to be there                           
among its unused




a pack of humans                   
thrown together


is us




but knowing


how to do it


we kept at it
and we keep






to our differences
in hidden places


like all old houses




had trap doors and secret passageways




from above the garage
to the basement without


setting a foot                          
inside proper


looting one’s own home


is worse
but its arresting


interesting what remains         
for you to see


when its blown down
and the safe place


is staged
a writing not proven


not willing to be
an estate


or anything like




its ligaments loosened
before its walls


how that evokes trees


and birthing


cutting down
wood for heat


when really
what’s buried




not unlike
the objects dropped


in large clay pots
when no one’s looking


those I tried to fish out
of small spouts


but now someone else’s


the new pack
I formed formed


by some rotting matter
and by some lovingly trying


but not knowing


just how