Mary Austin Speaker

Three Poems from THE BRIDGE



to persist through sleep

we hunker forth

vibrate across

the skeletal harp,

rib cage, folded hands,

squat atlas spanned

across the gun-grey

river rocks

into an island

wild with giant

gun-grey trees

we and the grey

persistent trees

leap forth










on the outskirts

of the morning

fog steel sky


the auditory

we’re all picked

flowers nodding

our slender necks

in all directions

because the clouds

diffuse the light

like a silk stocking

makes the lens bigger

make it smaller

and the room inverts

it’s possible to be still

between fits of sleep

and in the hour

after the alarm

when the light

sprays in

like a far away wave

on the outskirts

of morning










and so

we bravely go

upward again

into the day

boats shooting forth

their foam

small cars

and smaller people

born for this


repetitive day

we forge

our difference

from the way

we on the subway

stand in testament

to everything

being okay

all still

a frozen piece

of day

if we all had

a louder instrument

to play

then we could know

who had more days

to bravely go


MARY AUSTIN SPEAKER is the author of the chapbooks The Bridge (Push Press 2011); 20 Love Poems for 10 Months (Ugly Duckling Presse 2012); a collaborative play, I Am You This Morning You Are Me Tonight, written with her husband, the poet Chris Martin; and Ceremony, winner of the 2012 Slope Editions book prize. She co-founded the Triptych poetry reading series in New York City in 2008 and curated the Reading Between A&B series for several years, and has designed books for HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Alice James and various others. New poems have recently appeared in epiphany, Boston Review, Iowa Review, Lungfull, Jubilat, Forklift Ohio, and elsewhere, and her critical work can be found in PleiadesThe Claudius App, and Painted Bride Quarterly. She lives in Minneapolis, where she operates a tiny design studio.