CHRISTINE HUME lives in Denver, Colorado. The winner of the 1999 Barnard New Women Poets Prize, her poems have appeared in publications including Boston Review, The New Republic and Boulevard.


You must be a watcher and a rounder. You must be alert to drift. As an iceboat heads into glaciers, a slow blinking warning. You could map all the rivers slipping in. Steal water and thicken the white sky by realling sugar melting on a sidewalk. You might be a roof with many salts and birds. Because news comes by, you must turn your mind to outer space. As you tend the fire, begin to be wind-bleary. Your cur whimpers and twitches in its sleep and circles and there is no difference. You squint at self-collapsing incarnations thrown from windows. Slant the doubtful gray face going off. Look, you might have slumbered through the collapse of caribou. The ice age is a sleep, and there are no roads connecting it to other villages. Space may still be private because alone is busy everywhere at home, and privacy washes off the eye’s blaring caprice. But by the time you burn off daylight, your posture is hopeless; your house caught and leveled save a metal fan whistling and twisting the in-gust of flame-magnetisms and ash sent for wild be damned. No blades’ shadows play out large how the dog had run cold, how the sleepers walked; it could only be one thing turning the wrong way inside.


All the people would come to the middle

that’s how vague the pleasures of games are

newlyweds didn’t bargain on the sea’s hollow dark

because they wanted sky and old people wanted them to see

the place larks come from on her honeymoon

my grandmother sketched her own head in a habit then smeared it into a beachball

by the sea which is an end but it’s night in the song

all the people rushing to one side of the boat

only this time my grandmother overhears needles of conversation

some called her gray when the city began to disappear

around its waist the voices edged out

camouflage made her seek flashlights

the newlyweds began saying fuck every time

comets have been heard

in the endless going on they think

everything her ears hear, a sea for swollen eyes

a circle of chairs to circle the lip

where my grandmother’s skirt billows breath-thin and dark as a fingerprint

I know what won’t merge

counts on stars like potential family

but soon the speed of light makes no difference

their whites had to be touched

and the comet was it for an age

what she never first of all wanted was lilt and lop

still she doesn’t just take it inside

the air full of roofs the way true middles never are

after my grandmother stooped to leave, her hearing aid gave away snow

that was when Alaska was the navel she stared at