Even Pleiades, the merry bunch, we name
from this camp in the black desert.
We travel like Earth, in a tilt,
spiraling toward rescue. Our hair is cut
for the first time, we have eaten
from our own fire, and the wheat
of southern Washington with bent fingers
rustles, this way. When we don’t go,
it’s still golden. But the stars, yes,
we learn Cygnus, Andromeda, Draco:
all we’ve never seen is glory, and we are new.
Oh woman chained to a rock, oh swan.
Based on a trip I took some years ago, West/Sky celebrates breaking down the self by moving outside the bounds of one’s known world. A kind of ecstatic risk taking, even if the risks could be categorized as mundane (e.g. learning the constellations).
Autumn McClintock lives in Philadelphia, works at the public library, and serves on the City’s Poet Laureate Selection Committee. Her first chapbook, After the Creek, was published in 2016. Poems of hers have recently appeared in Poetry Daily, Green Mountains Review, Drunken Boat, RHINO, Boxcar Poetry Review, and others. She is a staff reader for Ploughshares.