Three Poems

The Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, SUNY Buffalo, puts out an annual chapbook of Three Poems by one poet and I’m happy to be this year’s featured poet. Thanks to Curator James Maynard and designer Edric Mesmer. It is usually mailed to Collection donors but this year, for obvious reasons, it is only available in a digital version for now.

Cover image: Group IV, No. 3. The Ten Largest, Youth, Hilma af Klint, 1907.

Social Isolation: Day 1

No alarm   but


I woke up before dawn

            to see the moon and Mars


            The moon was waning,

crescent,          Mars a bright

            virus speeding away from or toward

its open mouth.           They hung low

            in the south east sky

                        just above the tree line.

I tried to take a picture

            but it flashed back only

     a bathroom window

                        in need of washing.

Still, I saw it.

            And the not yet risen sun

managed to make the sky—just a little—

            blue     and the moon a little gold.


Joy in the throat

                        no birds

                                    weather coming

I don’t know what my hands are doing

            build holes

                        for lightning

  one in the roof

            one in the earth below

                        all the way to saltwater

   build around those holes

            a place to remember

                                    the strike

   then get out of the way

                        build around the place

                        a city

                                    a port


                                                            silver mines

It is very quiet here

            before?       after?      lightning

maybe I’ve lost my hearing   lost the plan

We hate the emperor               made him

            by forgetting weather

      I am only this age now

   I am not a container for all the other ages I’ve been

not an urn for ash either

            Clouds building in the south

                                                so quiet


Now that the branches are bare

            it’s clear how they bend

   away from clutter

                                    toward light.

We don’t have to fall back

            into darkness


                        There comes a point

   each year

            between breaths           between seconds

                        even the sun holds still for.

What new form takes shape in the dark?

     Maybe a bird                       a tree

                        maybe a girl

         who loves the light

                        and pulls us all back

     into its grace.

                        Turn your face that way.

About the Author

Sherry Robbins was born into an Air Force family at Sandia Air Base, grew up around the world, and has called Buffalo home for most of her life. Robbins founded Orchard Press and co-founded Weird Sisters Press, producing letterpress editions of poems. She works as a teaching artist. 

Robbins’s previous work includes the complete edition of Or, the Whale (BlazeVOX Books), two chapbooks, Snapshots of Paradise (Just Buffalo Press) and Or, the Whale (shuffaloff press), as well as dozens of poems published in literary journals and anthologies here and in Spain and Portugal—including Salmagundi, Denver Quarterly, Dispatches from the Poetry Wars, Earth’s Daughters, Bright Hill Press, An Outriders Anthology,Poets at Work, and Resist Much, Obey Little.

Her latest book, Under World, is due out this July from Outriders Poetry Project.

Published in an edition of 300 copies,

of which the first 50 have been numbered and

signed by the poet.

The Poetry Collection

of the University Libraries

Buffalo, NY | April 2020

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