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I don’t even believe in desire
sometimes. Like the artist from Israel
I didn’t want to sleep with—

she painted Vermont’s green mountains.
There weren’t any bombs in her paintings, so
her paintings must have taken place

in those fifteen seconds
between belief and desire,
the air raid sirens                 and shelter,

grace and God.

Night aspens, weeds wink.  I am
kept by this rifle. I am spared.

I drink in the lips of thee, sleep
in the pasture.  Speak dear shadow thee

quelled air is folded, felled.

Death, little desert, mine
forsaken  uneven     swoon.  One
of my horses leans a long time
into the scent of juniper; there is a bridge
light will not cross.


Maureen Alsop lives in Palm Springs. Joshua Gottlieb-Miller lives in Madison, WI.