Publication News: “Evidence, Occurrence”

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The Apostrophe Blog

Musings on Writing and Life.

This ekphrastic, free-verse poem was inspired by Dianne Kornberg’s photographs of kelp from the University of Washington’s marine algae Herbarium in her exhibit, Evidence of Its Occurrence, at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, Oregon, 2005. After borrowing a version of her title for my own, I then decided to use anaphora to create the rhythm and cadence of this poem that ranges its ways around and through numerous difficult subjects. The Poetry Foundation has this definition for this poetic device: “the repetition of a word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines to create a sonic effect.”

“Evidence, Occurrence” won second place in the Dueling Judges category of the Oregon Poetry Association’s Fall 2014 contest. It was published in the 2015 edition Oregon Poetry Association print anthology, Verseweavers and later was included in my poetry collection, Every Door Recklessly Ajar.             


because a lampshade was once made of skin
because a banana peel became craved and fought-for food
because the branch bearing a body gone fruit shaded the klieg lights underneath
because the pulp from inside got looted, bargained, sold

because a cord seeking a socket
might mean electrocution
might mean a bath of yellowing death-wash fright

because a kite might be all of these things
in its lilt above dry sand
to measure currents
to trace a cemetery
to trace an alphabet of birth that reminds

oh good
oh holy
sea, and sky

maybe we prefer when the world is
flatten, fold, increase

as if there is
a deity who permitted
all of this

as if all of us
in our cells
in our incurious march toward end are forever atoning, if small

does that mean I shouldn’t
taffeta a skirt
cinch it round my hips
tree my strands of hair to the ground
in a single, benevolent braid?

all I know is
all I do not know

can that be enough?
can dry land arrive and we’ll decree to speak its blessing, too?
sinkholes of carbon and humans are seven-tenths H2O
insects instead of angels dancing on the head of

the many who were
the many who are always on the way to or from
the one

flatten fold release

The public domain photograph above was taken by Erčo.

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