Deborah Poe


a psychoterratic reading 

a koala clutches gum topped box

turns from dinner 

bird climbs out 
from the edge
of human brain 

another bird perched
on a different branch’s limit

the flora the flora 
including the fern

tucked behind the ear
a eucalyptus flower 

brain’s stem, remember, 
it’s connected

that ear can hear


open brain 
and the flame 

of celerywood

slender water vine


no, not that kind


sculpt each piece
from fragile material
building a solid form
followed by a hollowing out


bio- or necro-philia? 

among the death focus (a)men


how does the brain explain? 

neurons that fire 
wire together

brain good at learning 
from bad 
bad at learning 
from good 

the negative
quick conversion 
to neural structure.


climate change 
trips the binary


the built and natural environments

the psychological state




return home
return home
return home


but when you’re 
home already? 

landscapes transformed
beyond your control


solace loss
lost home 
as isolation 
but power? 

less what?
more -ness


homesickness at home 

Exile (or Waking, 23 May)

 after Maged Zaher’s The Consequences of My Body


I told him not to pet the sea lion 

Circumstances on the ocean are different

He has such tenderness for animals

This includes for me

The body is a sea of refugee boats

Tanker ballasts and cruise ships

That kind of need displaced empathy 

We march millions into exile—

 say amen. 

Ochre Star, Pacific Ocean

after Raul Zurita

Sea level rises as ocean water warms and expands. Starfish arms 
walk off on their own. Down below the ocean,  up above the ocean, 
up above unusual clouds on a clear day. 
Starfish arms turn up to sky. 
There was our love turning away; there was a clear day shambling 
from the shore.

Lesions pit skin in shambles, sea levels. Orange, purple, brick-red. 
Arms turn up to sky. Our love turning from the tide pool 
signatures. Our love signature shambling from the edge of the sea. 

Orange, purple, brick-red skin. Sea and starfish unclung to clear day. 
They were just falling apart, he said. Here are the beings we love,
she says. They were falling apart. Unclung days draw from the limit 
of the sea. 

The sea, in feeling, warmer, water’s stress from late summer
or whatever sea. Warmer days at sea. For the things we love. 
Tissue where animal used to be.

They were falling apart, she says, tissue where animals used to be. 
Orange, purple, brick-red. A species that makes no sound. 
A child holds withering star. Silence holds star to sky and sea.

Deborah Poe is the author of the poetry collections keep, the last will be stone, too (Stockport Flats), Elements (Stockport Flats), and Our Parenthetical Ontology (CustomWords), as well as a novella in verse, Hélène (Furniture Press). Her writing has appeared in journals like Denver Quarterly, Bellingham Review, Court Green, Colorado Review, Yellow Field, Touch the Donkey, and Jacket2. Her visual works—including video poems and handmade book objects—have been exhibited at Pace University (New York City), Casper College (Wyoming), Center for Book Arts (New York City), University of Arizona Poetry Center (Tucson), University of Pennsylvania Kelly Writers House at Brodsky Gallery (Philadelphia), and ONN/OF “a light festival” (Seattle), as well as online with Bellingham Review, Elective Affinities, Peep/Show, Trickhouse, and The Volta. She lives in Seattle.