Diane Kirsten Martin



Mon pauvre petit choux
under the new moon
the cabbage worm
nibbles your ears

Mon petit choux
under the new moon
the black earth
blankets your roots

Earwigs huddle
in the folds
of your crisp skin.

Pollen dust
germinates in your

I am in love
with your moist

the hush
of your nodding
cruciferous heart.


Look, it was three days since she’d talked
to anyone, three days of fever and sleep,

sheets wet with sweat, though the January
wind banged the casements, with their cross-

hatched mullions, open and shut. She could
almost feel someone in the room next to her,

though the concierge sat six floors below,
arms folded, on guard against anyone

who spoke English, and the most recent
in a long line of flatmates was in Brussels

at a conference for young Christians. But
the Bible the friend left on her bedside table

said Jesus would take her by the hand
if she believed in Him. Three days into that

flu, the girl picked up the Book, read chapter
and verse full of thunder and faith,

acquiescence and begetting, sank lower.
Her bones and eyeballs ached. She knew,

yea, she was dying! She said then — aloud
so He could hear — that she believed. Oh how

she wanted to, slept and woke to the Cross,
stark and indisputable on the plaster wall,

wept and slept, fever subsiding, curtains limp
and docile, moonlight dissipated by morning.



Even this shiny bit
             taken and repurposed,

spark stowed and pocketed
             to be readily at hand 

to be caressed and admired
             to have and to keep

in the recesses and crevasses,
             privacies and interstices

to husband and to hold
             now especially 

when days are short
             the path unspooled

longer than the one
             wound up 

and the blue moon owns
             the pearly hours —

you want
             its glow

you need
             its glory

you require
             its radiance

it’s them
             or for god’s sake you

DIANE KIRSTEN MARTIN‘s work has appeared in Field, Poetry Daily, Zyzzyva, Harvard Review, Narrative, Plume, Rhino, and many other journals and anthologies. She was included in Best New Poets 2005, has received a Pushcart Special Mention, and won the Erskine J. Poetry Prize from Smartish Pace. Her poetry collection, Conjugated Visits, a National Poetry Series finalist, was published in May 2010 by Dream Horse Press. Her newest manuscript, Hue and Cry, is seeking a publisher.

Read more by Diane Kirsten Martin:

Poem in Plume
Two poems at Connotation Press