Audrey Bohanan

Two poems from Audrey Bohanan’s Any Keep or Contour

followed by a note on the author

The Far Beyond with Indigo Buntings

“And so when we examine a nest,
we place ourselves at the origin
of confidence in the world.”
– Gaston Bachelard

There is no sparing of the always thinking
out. Time, now, for the emptiness of their nest
to be filled with the sound of small wings under
big thunder. There is no picking the past tense

out, as fused as oil of myrrh put anywhere
close to Nei silk, the bond becomes eternal
as the future. It is solid. They are gone,
by feel by now they are flying, by tonight

they will be heading out across the spillage
of constellations in the South sky, which they
keenly skirt beyond the concrete of, as slick
as a sublingual curative in dodging

the complexities of the spleen. All in how
they bushwhack around the more damply hummocked
brain regions. She wove in Sweet Canary Grass
to ride the sundown tipped in crimson waves, scent

of Lady’s Drawer from fields mown inland, upland
by the tide, to gather them back to high ground.
And to meet the mid-rib, there she laid in fur,
kill of Cottontail or jumping-mouse to be

sorrowed after. To keep the hearts of the young
from being broken, so they will be broken
less often. I am not fitting their dark flight
to my makeshift bind of comprehension as

little backdoor collection agency claims
on the soul. Nothing there can be returned to.
While in their coverts they keep safe each likeness
the stars come up with deeper than scar tissue.


To Be Shaken Out of a Life

“To be among the shaken
is to have responded
to grimly disturbing experiences…”

– Andrew Shanks

Longing, and close on its heels despair
hits a trip-wire where hope has been driven off

like a hare on the run and strung low
to the ground under a shadow’s wingtips.

When there is not anywhere left to arrive at,
hope separates like porridge-peas

gone too cold to ever reach the table,
never the infant not yet nine days old

clutched on a shoulder in the freezer aisle
corrugations of a box store, dilute wines

and one of the known food groups accounted for
in the cart he is carried over, with no

crocheted intervention, no metabolic spelling
of his skin, and he is shivering. To be

a crib-death survivor, an infant
would have to be shaken out of his life

and back into one that is different;
shaken out into a darkness like a single cell

when catastrophe is sea-deep. Then he must go
by hand over hand back into the pod of him.

Audrey Bohanan’s first book, Lime, won the Gerald Cable Book Award from Silverfish Review Press. Her work has appeared in many journals including The Antioch Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Colorado Review, Seneca Review, and Shenandoah. She has been the recipient of several awards, including a Maine Arts Commission Fellowship and a Beyond Boundaries Endowment from the Marion Weber Foundation. Originally from New Hampshire, she and her husband have for many year lived in rural, coastal Maine, where she teaches and writes.