Skip to Content

I Go for a Walk in the Evening While the Body Stays at Home


The body unbuckles the door latch
and stands behind the screen. To hide its bloated legs
it wears the frayed red bathrobe of its grief. The sun, that swollen increment,

gathers to a dark burr in my mouth. The green leaves
tighten down across their stems, a small voice coming toward me
on someone else’s phone.

There was something I wanted to say
about the body. (The sun, that swollen
increment, a dark burr in my mouth—) That the body

is a tent stake. That the figure I am chasing through the late
short grass is mine. But the lip makes no remittance
and the sparrow in the boxwood

cools itself to quartz. Then the sparrow casts the spiral
of its sleep. Our feet in the earth are chisels.
The lights in the houses turn in

on themselves like little snows.


Press here to play the MP3.

Author Image

Alix Anne Shaw is the author of two poetry collections: Dido in Winter (Persea, 2014), named one of the best poetry books of the year by Library Journal, and Undertow (Persea 2007), winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize. Her poems and reviews have appeared in journals including Harvard Review, Black Warrior Review, Denver Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, and New American Writing. Her most recent project is Rough Ground: A Translation of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus From Philosophy into Poetry. Also a visual artist, she holds an MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work can be viewed online at

Feature image by Rick Yribe, Melted Snowman, 2012. © Rick Yribe.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Readers like you make Guernica possible. Please show your support.

Tagged with: