Alan Britt: Three Poems

Alan Britt has published 15 books of poetry, his latest include Violin Smoke (bilingual English/Hungarian): 2015; Lost Among the Hours: 2015, Parabola Dreams (with Silvia Scheibli): 2013 and Alone with the Terrible Universe: 2011. He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.


Van The Man

Sunlight through the crack
of my brain, I said, sunlight
on the brink of insane,
& harp pretends not to notice
with its existential squawks & reckless
flirtation with a holy black hole.

Alarm clock like a scorpion
on the dawn of my worst nightmare,
like when she entered the streets,
but later, later, later that evening
an Arctic wind’s walnut tail poised
to sting the slightest penumbra
inside her iris of light.

Just like that I opened up a window.

& just like that I opened up a window.


Before Nightfall

(For Daphne Rose)

White ceiling.

Small dog like a rusty hinge two yards away.

Firehouse siren syringes the horizon.

Naked branches invade a cataract sky.

White-throated atoms of dusk chatter like squeaky wheels
on a chrome shopping cart.

At the center of heartache, the last Japanese maple
the color of lipstick on lips that kissed
throughout the night & into the dawn.

Ivory ceiling.

Porchlight oozes a frozen lemon.

Bichon, tail curled, rhino trots the cold clover.

Six geese honk the cataract sky.

Wrinkled woman in black overcoat, white headscarf.

Reconnaissance plane prowls the horizon.

November collapses upon a pile
of bleached bones below the split-rail fence.

Ceiling of smoke.

Ceiling stained by bug light’s frozen shadows.

Fingernail moon.


Shasta, The Bouvier

(For MaryBeth and Chelsea)

This is her ground,
the ground she grew up on
where she now catches her toe
in roots of brown grass.

She sniffs the garden fence,
one end to the other,
inspecting her yard
as it ought to be.

With a few hind kicks
to manicure her mood
she inspects
slowly the perimeter
of our split-rail fence.

Tripping over the occasional maple
root buried beneath damp piles of curled,
yellow, and brown-spotted leaves.

She limps, as it were,
into our carport,
and pauses near the patio door
beside a rake and a garden hose
coiled like a frozen shadow snake,
then swivels her head toward me.

I close my book
and follow her inside.


(Author photo by Charles P. Hayes)

What are you looking for?