Ida Stewart 

Underground Spring

i. Coalescence

Seasons in the sound barrier. Surround,
son, song, sonic boom laid down over
like a lead vest, like a memory quilt and being held
under it in the wake. Air,
if you really want to get into it,
like a pushed-up sleeve. Say we flattened this place
like a note or a flyaway strand. Say each one of us
grabbed a season and lit out for ever. Say we
turned to look through the space
we’d squirreled away for a time like this.
Please say we came back together
as if folding a bed sheet fresh off the line.
There’s no sound inside the jet plane. But inside
the mountain: cracks like a bullwhip.

ii. Maia Myth

Seasons, ink. Seasons, his face
pulled from the old Olson Mills through
a needle and buried in her skin. Seasons
tattoo, as in echo, as in chamber, as in the descender
on the letter g in the word together, all seasons turning
inside it while she’s stranded on the escarpment
of the r, her feet dangling out into what is only
her own life. Seasons in the socket-hollows,
in the bridge, in the strong jaw. Seasons in the family
resemblance, a boy growing more and more
like himself, like a broadening circle on a pond,
as if she made him by throwing a stone
into a small body that she assumed was limitless
as the sea. Seasons in the shadows of such stones.

iii. At the Remove

Seasons at a loss, a father at a loss to say where
the water keeps coming from. Not run-off,
not this time, but up from within the dirt or the body—
the distinction collapses. Seasons on the verge,
idling in the driveway. Seasons furled in the buds
like every little baby that ever was. He’s gone soft
with the land. He sleeps on the edge of a crater.
Tearing up and tilling, untilling. Tilling, untilling—
one of those dreams where you just can’t get,
but not for trying, dirt filling the hole
before you put the flower in, only deep down
in your cells. A season is a great big earth mover,
big as a son, big as light, big as the night shift
feels, going down into it like the opposite of sap.

iv. Starred Up

Kin to the grain of sand, kin to the sea,
kin to the fits and starts of foam,
she is all of a piece with time,
seasons woven in the rope of shore
she wrests her moment of a body through
by still being, being still, inside.
The known world breaks against her skin
and falls into its limits:
the solid all, the liquid else,
and present in the verge, the asterisk
of her arms and legs and spine,
as if there is an antecedent somewhere
to which her body only refers and not only
this coast—this long, longing, division.



Ida Stewart is the author of Gloss (Perugia Press, 2011). Her poems have also been published in a number of journals, most recently in The Tusculum Review and Connotation Press. She teaches writing at the University of Delaware and co-edits the poetry journal Unsplendid. A native of beautiful West Virginia, Ida currently resides in Philadelphia.


return to poetry                       home