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  • Alexander Etheridge

How we lose ourselves / Bloodfire

By Alexander Etheridge

How we lose ourselves

Late February dark blows in

with a sudden gusting cold,

again claws of cold wind,

and the next page of grief turns—

The next plane of fire burns

into everything, again

burning, and no way back.

A ragged band of crows rises

from a stony, black-winter frost,

and again the seconds grow black.

What happens in our hearts

happens to the world.

What’s lost is gone and lost again—

And we give the road home away.


Quiet rover and winter endurer,

climbing snowy hills, rising into purple

cloudfall – Kory Bloodfire, following

the footfalls of sunset. Come back when you can

down the stoney path, through

shredding hail, to the other side of night –

Kory, the dark is burning, and your prayers

vanish into January earth

there where the aspens and the poplars

turn grim in a blue forest afterglow.

The cold is churning, your sight is dim.

Follow the creek out of the brambles and thorns

through a clearing where the raven

calls to the lamb, down to the valley of the half-moon.

Return before the ground takes your home and your

children, your blonde wheat fields and your lemon

orchard, back into its bed of damp clay and black

tangled roots.


Alexander Etheridge has been developing his poems and translations since 1998. His poems have been featured in Wilderness House Literary Review, Cerasus Journal, The Cafe Review, The Dawntreader, Abridged Magazine, Susurrus Magazine, The Journal, and others. He was the winner of the Struck Match Poetry Prize in 1999.


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