Literary Yard

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‘Beyond’ and other poems by Alison McBain

By: Alison McBain


a point in time indicates
period to a sentence
finite space
stopped by boundaries, contained
but what if a point in time is simply
beyond the ellipsis
of the written word
beyond grammar and punctuation
beyond the end
taking in a breath
a point can be a black hole
incessantly consuming
a point could be the tip
of something larger
the beginning of a foray
into chasms
of underwater icebergs
a point could be the opening
of an eye
which sees beyond
the edge of reasoning
a point could be doorway
into another realm, the place
where you insert yourself
from one dimension into another
where what you are
is not what you will be
but merely an instant
not even a pause
leading to something greater
a point could be infinite,
expanding, commencing, fulfilling,

hope, Heaven, chaos, art,
words transforming, subsuming
intent until
the point could be
should be
will be

a change

free will

and a rose



Turn away your eyes from her.
She wears a mask.
She is not beautiful
nor compelling.

Pull away the cover
and underneath are bones
in the bottom of the coffer
only bones
yellow and cracked.

Look at the remains.
Not stolen fire
nor tricks
will save you.

It is the anger of the gods.

Bring the box to your lips,
taste hope
before lifting the veil
from the eyes of Justice.

She will sentence you
and there are agonies ahead
through years you wish

After emancipation,
the chain on your ankle
as you walk down the street
in Armani and Cartier.

It reminds you of what is lost.

Driven forward through time
with the precision
of an eagle’s beak.



“Sixty years,”
I told her
when she published
her debut
at age ninety.
“I have sixty years
to catch up to you.”

She laughed and told me,
“Don’t wait.”
Even so, I delayed six years
not sixty
to follow in her footsteps,
her inspiration
outlasting her.

I wish I had
one more day to tell her
what I learned
in the interim.
But she is still
listening, I think—



On the subway ride from Brooklyn to
Manhattan, overwhelmed by façades,

Music fades beneath
An ocean wave.
Nothing overlays the heartbeat of stress
In the silence.

Perhaps tomorrow there will be rain
And fire
Dancing through the sodden streets.
Maybe I cannot let go of

However, tomorrow stays unanswered
Until it comes.
Morning is a new beginning.

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