Weekly Feature: Poetry at The Arts Fuse

Welcome to “Poetry at The Arts Fuse.” A new poem every Thursday.




Family has the logic of a bird’s nest,

a sturdy confusion of feather

and found things. It asks—

who is the carer, who

executor, who the proxy,

who the golden boy,

who the careless grandchild

butchering her hedges?


Marie had lived too long

on her own, lost

in the garden of the past

grown wild. Under

the ailanthus it became

hard to tell the living

from the dead, so

she fled from herself


like a meinie of sparrow

flushed from the blazing

azalea. Across the whole

wet sky they flew. Do you

know the last thing

she said when she knew

who she was? It was

a question of faith, Why seek

the living among the dead?


There were years when

we talked with her

as if she were a ghost.

There were times when she

demanded to come home

from her home. As long as it

was an echo, we understood.

But when she began

to see children at night

none of us had ever known


it was as if she moved through

the arch of a gate into

a place where we could not

follow. For months she

hardly spoke. And then,

when the day’s first light

touched her body, we found

it had become only a body.


Daniel E. Pritchard is a poet, translator, and essayist, as well as the founding editor of The Critical Flame, a journal of criticism and creative nonfiction. His work has appeared in Lily Poetry ReviewSepiaPangyrus, and elsewhere. Learn more at danielpritchard.net.

Note: Hey poets! We seek submissions of excellent poetry from across the length and breadth of contemporary poetics. See submission guidelines here. The arbiter of the feature is the magazine’s poetry editor, John Mulrooney.

— Arts Fuse editor Bill Marx

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