Gail Goepfert

Gail Goepfert’s poetry has appeared in anthologies, print and online journals including Avocet, After Hours, Caesura, Florida English, Uproot Magazine, Homeopathy Today, Jet Fuel Review, Examined Life Journal, and Ardor among others. She was a semi-finalist for the Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest and the Journal of Modern Poetry. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. She’s an associate editor for RHINO Poetry.



~after Louise Glück’s “October”                                                                                           


Is it near-winter again, is it cold again,
didn’t the snow just pool
among the winter pansies, the bed-ivy,

didn’t the pavement
dampen with melt, melt slosh
on suede boots,

didn’t ice daggers just
slither down the shingles

piercing the ear, the sallow earth
in their plummet.
I remember how russet

turned to olive to meadow green,
moss threading the bricks
like damask.

Didn’t I just hear the jay?

No matter the apricot
on the rose, the banjo tuned
when the cicadas come.

I am silenced. Empty.

By the gravity of winters
past, the cruelty of hollows
in the days that shamble by
savagely the same.

Foolish. I look for reclamation
in rusty soup kettles,
joints that creak.

The breadknife’s in the marrow.

There’s no retreat,
from the caustic lime
tapped into that fissure.



Only red berries
fleck the crabapple bough—leafskins
like snake jackets upon the ground.

Tell me I’m wrong.
Tell me the drained rain barrel
bubbles over
come spring.

I swallow hard in the dark.

Tell me numbed and frozen flesh
revivifies with touch.

My feet root in the dank.

I listen for what I know.
Listen for a ping, a quiver
beneath my ribs.


It is true that some things
are beyond my ken.
I swing vine-like
between wise and withered.

It’s true. In spring, fiddleheads
push through the earth.

Curlicues of green
uncoil in the sun.

But it is gray that taps me dry.

Wanting, I wrench
brilliance from sunlight.



Get up, said the world.
I try to make a sonnet
out of charcoal.

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