The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Alice Friman

On This May Morning

                                       for Lillian


Clear-eyed daughter of winter, born
on the coldest night of the year,

now is the time to walk this earth
lightly, for now is the season of catkin

and fluff, flute song and chirp—
the yearly reenactment of beginnings

when earth deploys in her new green
uniform to reclaim her old address.

Walking by the river, past squirrel
scurry and chat and a box turtle stuck,

stymied in traffic, I stop at a smear—
a trace of some unfortunate—

dried out and graying on the path.
Above it, a spray of honeysuckle

bends heavy to see, weeping perfume
from its profusions. Nature's joke.

Nothing means what we want it to mean.
Yet child, dearest child, named for the lily

burgeoning hope in the quickening ground
and for a grandmother whose Yiddish name,

your name, translates as love, I tell you,
the lies we embrace to endure this world

are delicate. Be careful where you walk.



Alice Friman

The Descent


Like a valentine, they stood
silhouetted against the sunset
then made jokes about the sun
looking like a runaway cheese
which made them laugh
and freed them from the love talk
the moment seemed to require.

At first, the fall was merry,
delicious in a way—that shuffle and trip,
riding the slick of language down
from boredom by way of disparagement
to distance. To disaster.

What they'd remember later was dusk
and the two of them standing at the railing
in the growing darkness
which shocked them at first—
the light had been so beautiful—and then
the silence and the sudden reaching out
to hold hands, like victims of the Triangle Fire
holding hands as they jumped.




ALICE FRIMAN has new work forthcoming in Poetry East, Plume, Negative Capabilit,y The Gettysburg Review, The Georgia Review and others. Her sixth full-length collection of poetry is The View from Saturn, LSU. A new collection, Blood Weather, is due out from LSU in 2019. She's the winner of many awards, the latest, the 2016 Paumanok Poetry Award. She lives in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she was poet-in-residence at Georgia College & State University.



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