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to shimmer & fall; the snow
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

00:00 / 01:04
00:00 / 00:52

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."