Three Poems by Alita Pirkopf

I have learned to walk

I have learned
to walk in white fog—
so warm it stifled
and turned to thick steam.
It didn’t burn;
it smothered.

I have also learned
to walk in white
winter fog,
to breathe bitterly,
hearing my words
freezing and falling
into ice particles
that piled around
my already frozen feet.

For a while,
I was stopped,
stilled in whiteness—
summer, winter,
dreams and day.


Even the sunny days
become suddenly
black bursts of wrath.
There is no stopping this.
Rage rolls around like the sun,
violent and explosive, then
regularly disappearing,
while all my earth stands stricken—
a lightning-struck forest. All about,
everything stands naked and blasted,
or falls like black pick-up sticks.
Even the tundra waits to regain
its tiny but immense hold, its flat-
out loveliness. Color gone,
black peaks loom above valleys
that lie bone-filled.

Easter suddenly sunny

Easter suddenly sunny
the storm gone the winter coat
cold morning over and brunch
and bunnies and egg hunting
all under blue warming sky.

Sun above all the rest of day
and I, wintered-soil digging—
familiar, like the garden,
with worms and wild roots
with bones and questions—

sift memories and earth,
go deep, passing past—
unworried with meanings,
planting, early bursting,
everything bright, hyacinths.

about the author:

After growing up in Seattle, I attended Middlebury College in Vermont. Later I received a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Denver. I became increasingly interested in feminist interpretations of literature. Eventually I enrolled in a poetry seminar and poetry became a long term focus and necessity.