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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

to shimmer & fall; the snow

By: Heather Quinn

to shimmer & fall

some of us have stars for neurons 

that shoot in jagged 

                                         lines across the night sky

they fall 

              like dying fireflies in our backyards

                           where we collect them, place each in a glass jar 

                                         lined with down feathers

                                         warmed by candlelight

                                         a makeshift incubator

& we wait 

               heavy as stone

               slow                   as                       s l u gs 

               foggy as San Francisco

we stay in bed for days, consider jumping

from the highest bridge

e        v            e          n            t             u         a           l           l              y

our hibernating neurons sit up

rub their eyes

drink strong coffee straight from the pot

& shoot the sky again like dynamite

sending us flying like trapeze artists

& when they  





                                                                                                  we fall too 

                                                                                                                into the tangled nets 

                                                                                                                              of our bodies 

                                                        willing the knotted fibers to hold

the snow 

after C.D .Wright

the father                                     the  window                               the night

the light                                        the baby                                  the sleep

the wail                                         the hands                                 the rock

  the window                                           the father                              the white

the word                                       the light                                   the shoulder

the moon                                      the warmth                                 the night

the chair                                      the lap                                       the rock

             the cold                                           the baby                         the hands

the light                                       the scent                                    the father

the wail                                        the hands                                   the hush

the moon                                     the chair                                   the lap

the rock                                        the white                                    the word

               the snow

                                                            the snowed 

                                                                                                the snowing


Heather Quinn is a poet living in San Francisco who loves the act of layering memory, imagination, images, the political & spiritual into her work. She often thinks of writing as collage-making. Recent and upcoming publishing credits are 42 Miles Press, Burning House Press, Ghost City Review, Headline Poetry & Press, Kissing Dynamite, Prometheus Dreaming & Raw Art Review. You can find her on Twitter at @hquinnpoet

"I wrote both poems around the same time at the end of 2019.  the snow came first.  I’ve been working on a chapbook and was trying to generate material.  My dad, who died four years ago, keeps coming up in my writing and figures strongly in my chapbook.  

One of my first memories is waking up in the middle of the night crying, and then sitting on my Dad’s lap as he teaches me the word snow.  It’s hard to write about this without sounding sentimental.  I remembered C.D. Wright’s poem The Flame and used this great form she provided as a way to keep the memory almost dreamlike, leaning heavy on image and sound.  When I read it aloud, it reminds me of a lullaby.  

to shimmer and fall  came from I don’t know where.  I must have been thinking of falling stars as a metaphor for neurons gone haywire, and then that image just took on a life of its own.  Vision is my strongest sense, and almost always comes first when I work on a poem.  My writing process is often an attempt to translate the images that are constantly forming and shape shifting behind my eyes to the page."  


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