Christine Holland Cummings


If you could look at God’s face
what would you see?

Would God’s infinitude
collapse like a quantum wave
its continual metamorphosis

planet to atom
to green bud on a stem
mouse then owl then black hole
or something/someone
from another world


If you could
would you see

If a creator or prime mover exists
A single point of origin
where is/are he/she/it/them

Bush that burns but does not consume
that which it burns


On the Interstate

They crawl across the map hauling
cookies and livestock
mattresses hairdryers chemicals
tires  long trunks of trees
gallons of gasoline
hectares of cotton and tomatoes

Their drivers roll (soft creatures
in their shells) through every state
loading and unloading
weighing the cargo

They stop in darkness eat
a meal on mountaintops
wanted safe
experienced drivers 47 cents a mile
sleep and roll again   In our beds
we await their coming



The Koi at the Gaylord Palms Resort

Under the five-story high glass sky
of The Gaylord Palms Resort atrium, Ponce de Leon
kneels in a grotto, drinks from his fountain,

lit from inside.

Here, soundless engines exhale sweet air,
little shops sell chocolate and souvenirs,
and nothing bad can ever happen, so she walks

pathways lined with palms

and orchids grouped for pleasing effect,
increasing without breezes, misted, beeless.
Only the koi in the streams,

slipping over and under each other,

who lip the bottom-stones for scraps
and make themselves gorgeous in gold,
silver, canary, ginger, pearl—

only they catch her seeing.

At the safety rail she watches them pour together,
apart, flesh some spark of wild distant rivers,
that place where someone first

glimpsed their flash and thought, “pretty.”



Fig Butter

Port wine and red wine,
star anise and clove,
blackest of black dry figs
bubbling together,

a perfume luxurious
as any composed
at monarch’s command
for his mistress.

She wears it only
for him,
for his secret midnight

in her hair,
on her neck,

her most intimate



Sonnet for My Husband

Conception starts the ticking clock.
Like this puppy on her blanket, soft fur, folded ears,
asleep, her mammal body acceding to the need
for oblivion, practicing for the end when she will not
wake up to chew sticks or nose the ground finding
astonishments under every fallen leaf.

Now she dreams. Little yips and kicks
say she’s chasing or being chased—joy or fear,
things we know that pass through
our own time-infected lives. And who is here,
and who goes away, ghost inhabitant that flees
when the warm flesh lets go its quickening?

I want to say, thou. Thou art here in thy body.
Thou will leave it. Leave me. When that day comes.




Back to SHR 2014

For a printed version:
Poets of SHR 2014



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