Sheila-Na-Gig online


Stan Sanvel Rubin

Rubin (grayscale) copyStan Sanvel Rubin’s work has appeared in Sheila-Na-Gig online and in Poetry Northwest, The Georgia Review, One, and others, most recently, The Shanghai Literary Review, Agni and the anthology, For the Love of Orcas. He received the 2018 Vi Gale award from Hubbub. His fourth full collection, There. Here, was published by Lost Horse Press in 2013. His third, Hidden Sequel, won the Barrow Street Poetry Book Prize. He lives on the northern Olympic Peninsula of Washington state.


I run my hand along a crease in the paper map,
relic of a time before cars had electronic noses

that can’t go wrong as we did those weekends,
lost in a calendar of promises.

Each day was to be the day we would see humpback at last,
find cider fresh as Autumn,

pick apples like Robert Frost from the tree,
straightening the flawed compass of our lives.

This map we used to try to find ourselves
on a journey up a coast road strewn with warnings

which we didn’t follow, did not depict
the sudden twists, the lurchings

above an angry sea
where old wreckage washes up on shore.

We went the way someone who sees a cliff stumbles towards it,
taking pleasure in what feels like choice.

But a whale doesn’t choose to beach.
An apple doesn’t choose to fall and when it falls can bruise.

Blood red apples, green apples, apples fallen too soon in wind.
Can anything be as lost?
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