Trio House Press
publishing distinct voices in poetry
since 2012

Interrupted Geographies by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Iris Jamahl Dunkle is the 2016-2017 Poet Laureate of Sonoma County, CA. Interrupted Geographies, published by Trio House Press, is her third collection of poetry.  Her debut poetry collection, Gold Passage, was selected by Ross Gay to win the 2012 Trio Award and was published by Trio House Press in 2013. Her second collection, There’s a Ghost in this Machine of Air was published in 2015. Her poetry and creative non-fiction have been published widely in numerous publications including FenceCalyxCatamaranPoet’s Market 2013Women’s Studies and Chicago Quarterly Review. She is currently writing a new biography of Jack London’s wife, Charmian Kittredge London. Dunkle teaches writing and literature at Napa Valley College and is on the staff of the Napa Valley Writers conference.

What Wears Out or Up After Time

Out of the valley mist that low hollow hangs.
Out of the moan of thick river ice pull gone locked.
Come melt.  Come rainbow sheen, glistening.
Come wool of clouds opening up.

Out of the forest thins.  Down hemlock,
split pine.  Up the derrick still sap-sticky.
Up the open-bellied stores and hotels.
Up the facade and the see-through-the-cracks.
Come the war-tired boys still blind of love,
still hungry, still pistol armed.

Out of thirst and holes and mud comes oil.
Red velvet curtains gone muddy, creek gone muddy loud,
comes screams of hairless horses, their burning bodies spelling into night.
Out of the locked-up girls who open their legs because of fists.

Come something red as cardinals.  Out of bread lines and dead letters
and lost children come thick pipes and steel laid down to out.
Come spit in your face.  Come hot breath. 
Come the fold in, the knock down, the every man for himself,
the bury it, the get out, the fire that burns to the ground.

Come the ashes sifting down.   Come the years.
The heavy dirt that don’t rise ‘til you dig in. 
Come the buried river, still moving.
Come the ghosts of those girls, thick hair blossoming—
Come the words still whispered from their lips.