OF THAT and Other Poems by P. Aylsworth

Peggy Aylsworth is a retired psychotherapist living in Santa Monica,CA. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Beloit Poetry Journal, The MacGuffin, Poetry Salzburg Review, White Rabbit (Chile), New Contrast (So.Africa), forthcoming in The Wallace
Stevens Journal. Her work was nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Prize.


1. Magenta velour in folds against

birch bark.

A room filled with artifacts.  Can

you hear?

The woman returns, collapses

her umbrella.

What comes.  Is it North?  Am I

on hold?

She writes on long pages of rough


against the grain, the grief.  An open

French window.

2.Press on. Push one. Touch Open.

Oh.  Zero. One. Zero. One. One. One. Oh!

Touch & go. Touch & print. Touch & save.                                               .

Time.  Click. Time. Click. Time. Click.

Did you?  Did you not?  Did you?

Punch the hole.  Punch the slot.  Five o’clock.

3. After the phone call, he noticed

how the words

unhooked from the names, left


a present of the actual.  Of

the present.

Not about. Clear as the yellow

cushioned chair,

even on Friday with certain


At 4:30 p.m.  To be. Exact.  If dinner,

they could.



Enter the word today.  Too simple

to be understood,

like a foot or

finger, the veins

of a leaf.  A child took me by the hand

“Eat the snowflake,”

she said, her clear

eyes convincing.

I ate, sat with her in the snow

untouched by cold

though our feet

were bare.

Is it what comes upon a midnight clear?

To touch

a round,

a sharp,

discover the skin is warm; the knife

of loss

clear cut

to the bone.

Bereft, as when a child has died,

my child

or yours.

What is today?


If a day is filled with laurel
trees and palm, why would
a woman run?  The pursuer
might be filaments of rain
or helicopters swallowing the wind,
their talons greased for prey.
He made the acquaintance of nights

he was compelled to pass without sleeping.

Leaves folding out of season
can blue-beat the haggard mind.

To make too much from out-of-order

puts disaster in the midst of Spring.

She discovers in standing still

solutions, though like baskets,

continual dripping leaks to doubt.

My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief

Woe, world-sorrow age-old anvil wince and sing.

It has been said, no one can claim

he is not a swine.  To wince…

but how to sing?  Listen!  The night sky

sounds white notes with spiral pulse.


Your eyes close in the guise of sleep.

Darkness doesn’t narrow the gap.

A rote of prickles shift left and right.

Your daughter turns belief into

the righteousness of sun, as water

drains from invisible cracks.

A dream of nettles under the bare feet.

This is someone’s blood.  Blame

hangs in mid-air, waiting to dry.

This harm you claim, presses

its way against your skin,  certain

as history, crimping the mind.

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