Pamela Alexander

Angles | Bad News
November 11, 2012 Alexander Pamela



The master speaks to a tree.

The professor snoozes. His glasses


slip. The Irish setter looks from one

to the other as if comparing:


one human cross-legged

on the ground, the other


slouched on a bench. Runners flash by;

light tilts against glass towers.


One head on paws. One head

against metal curve. Third head


counting wars. So many.

Needs stones or an abacus.


The professor snores lightly.

Crumbs on his shoes. The dog


licks them up. The master counts

on the trembling tips of branches.



Bad News


Doctors die.

Roofers get rained on.


A leopard springs

through the Jeep’s driver’s window,

into his lap.


Empty lifeboat adrift,

no oars.


Ice breaks

under the skater.


Cats have only one.


Clouds don’t stop bombs.


The lighthouse is dark.

The trail peters out.

Take care, pilgrim.

Pamela Alexander is the author of four collections of poems: Navigable Waterways,a Yale Younger Poet selection; Commonwealth of Wings (Wesleyan University Press), Inland (an Iowa Poetry Prize winner), and Slow Fire (Ausable Press). After teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for many years, she joined the faculty of Oberlin College, where she is an associate editor of Field magazine.