color & contour
Poem by Maison Demuth Olson
A bridge arced like a rusted crown over the river
& the river, a minion below it, remembered
all the ways to be blue. There was a piece of glass
lodged in the rough kick of water, color & contour
of a German beer bottle, edges too round to be
dangerous anymore. I usually wouldn’t bike this far,
the industrial part of town where grass grows taller
drier more fences construction but it’s quieter
here. The moon was lifting itself like an astronaut
through a thick sheet of dusk over the Aldstadt
to later return a soldier, shoulders bloody, astonished
by how drastically the earth changes in anyone’s
absence. Upstream a dam squeaked its metal jaws
open & shut like a window in my father’s apartment,
drinking in the night. This is where I would’ve turned
back if each piece of grass hadn’t been laying over
the others, tips like a lonely girl’s fingers trailing
a gymnasium wall, so kind to the part of me that fears
sleep. EuroCup fans chased flags through the outside
dark & I wasn’t there to greet them but heard shouts
from bars & downtown train tracks echoing to where
the moon pinched my eyes shut & the river kept
trucking & the grass kept watch over the night &
the TV screens, edging over fences out into the street.
The 2015 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry
We are pleased to announce this poem as a finalist for the 2015 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry, honoring the independent press’ best poems and hybrid works of the year. The winners are selected by an external panel that judges all pieces blind and chooses the full list of 12 finalists from hundreds of entries. Alternating Current does not determine the final outcome for the judging; the external judges’ decisions are final.
MAISON DEMUTH OLSON is the recipient of the 2014 Andrea K. Willison Prize for Poetry and Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets Fellowship. Olson’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as the Westchester Review, december magazine, metazen, and the Sarah Lawrence Review. From 2011–2014, Olson chaired the Spoken Word Collective at Sarah Lawrence College and served as a managing director for the college’s annual Poetry Festival.
Originally published on The Spark on 11/11/15.