Once the spiral starts

In the trees there’s a dark corner / inside the corner a tower / at the top a garden

Once the spiral starts


In the trees there’s a dark corner        inside the corner a tower       at the top a garden
in the garden a basket and a trouble      we brake on the crest of a hill       get out and
walk the streets     eat at a diner called The Golden Branch     drink sea water     sleep
in a meadow   unsaved and undone


Wider    meaning a bigger embrace      meaning a sidewalk        a walk toward the sea
holding the desert in one hand    a shield in the other    then a mirror    a quarter turn
to see the next vista               off just an inch and the universe throws in a spoon for a
a quarter of bacon   but the sweet pig is whole and very happy    parallel and perhaps
unseen    a talking sage   taking turns at the piano with a throne of gulls   multiplying
by the dozens        I follow raisins and crumbs      uneaten by the muskrat who swims
across the pond into the island’s grace


You will see it all if you just stop to stare into the dust     the boathouses     the kisses
the tiny cocks       the vaginal walls and the drownings        the eyes smiling at you or
glaring back in rage or pain                 a house in Cleveland or a house on the side of
a mountain in Peru      my dog Jack    I hear his low bark and watch the fur stand up
on the back of his neck    a blackbird calls out from the swamp     a flash of red from
its wing     the canoe pulls up in the mud along the bank    we get out and walk to an
abandoned house surrounded by lilacs       your hair so dark in the wind      the wind
itself a panorama


Once the spiral starts it cannot be stopped       the opening sealed for a reason      it’s
time to walk forward into the dark    no turning back    remember: the entrance only
opens for those willing to travel without knowledge of a future      where it’s safe for
children to burst through the skin of the world     really there’s no choice for us   the
physics all wrong      the going takes a certain faith      don’t you think?

About the author

Samuel Ace is a trans and genderqueer poet and sound artist. He is the author of several books, including Our Weather O­ur Sea (Black Radish Books, 2019) and Meet Me There: Normal Sex & Home in three days. Don’t wash. (Belladonna* Germinal Texts, 2019). He is the recipient of the Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund Award in Poetry and the Firecracker Alternative Book Award, as well as a Lambda Literary Award and National Poetry Series finalist. His work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in or is forthcoming from Poetry, Aufgabe, Fence, The Atlas Review, Black Clock, Mandorla, Versal, The Collagist, Posit, Vinyl, We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics, Troubling the Line: Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, Best American Experimental Poetry, and many other publications. He teaches poetry and creative writing at Mount Holyoke College, and divides his time between western Massachusetts and Tucson, Arizona.