How Divine
{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Lisken Van Pelt Dus

is a high-school teacher and martial arts instructor, raised in England, the U.S., and Mexico, and now living in Massachusetts.

Her work can be found in Conduit, Main Street Rag, The South Carolina Review, and other journals and anthologies, and has earned awards from The Comstock Review and Atlanta Review.

Her chapbook, Everywhere at Once, will be published this year by Pudding House Press.

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You in this field where I have pulled over my bike

A bird with a fanned tail flurries a shrub
and a pair of crows groom each other.
Stopping, I listen for what’s there,
piccolo calls, maraca tree-tops.
The sky seems like absence but is full,
carries me in its furious journey,
sweeps bike, birds, trees into new days
weighty and sudden, each of us wayward
like so many unmatched balls to be juggled.
I am by this field, or in fern-nestled forest,
or—and—at the edge of a darkening beryl sea.
The wind sings to its destination, even
sings this field into a place inside me
that can be everywhere at once
and can make homes from ferns, sand
and the watchful assurance of crows.


The Edge of Everything

Mark how the straw chatters,
thrashed by the wind.

Your own voice has withered
into the flickering of a small grass-snake,

larynx left opening and closing
in a perpetual imminence of sound.

Here is the edge of everything:
field, forest, night,

the intention of understanding.
Ahead of you, a palace

thrusting unsupported terraces into the air, or else
the denial of all you have ever said.

God’s signature is etched into a maple leaf
somewhere in these woods,

or carved in the deep loam
riddled with earthworms under your feet.

It is up to you to decide
whether to proceed or to return.

Hyacinths bloom here now. Come fall,
they will consume themselves again.


Originally published in The Comstock Review