Category Archives: The Voice of America

American Poet: Victoria Twomey

victoria twomey

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Victoria Twomey is an award-winning poet and artist. Her poems have been published in several anthologies, in newspapers and online, including BigCityLit, The Long Island Quarterly, The Tipton Poetry Journal, Verse-Virtual, The Agape Review, The Trouvaille Review and The RavensPerch. Her poem ‘Pieta’ was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, while ‘Paradise’ was a finalist in the 2022 Rash Award in Poetry Contest from Broad River Review, and ‘White Dress on a Clothesline’ was awarded the 95th Moon Prize from Writing In A Woman’s Voice. Her forthcoming book of poetry, Glimpse, will be published by Kelsay Books in 2023. https://victoriatwomey.com

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Victoria writes about her work

‘Can You Hear It?’ began with the question, ‘What is the sound of the creator, of creation, of existence?’ This persisted in my mind for weeks. I view nature and death as beings with something profound to tell me, if I will listen. In ‘Waiting Embrace,’ vast and eternal death lets the reader know it has all the time in the world. In ‘Neither Kindness nor Cruelty,’ nature is quite confident in her power and knows that time is on her side. In either scenario, the mortal is rightsized.

‘Addition and Subtraction’ describes the hope that got me through a difficult childhood. In ‘Color Blind’,  I imagined my mother wanting to erase all the bad memories in my childhood and leave only a recollection of her kindness. In my poem, she reaches out from beyond death and slowly remakes my memory of a day at the beach into a loving experience. What mother wouldn’t want the power to make such a magical repair?

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Victoria Twomey: Six Poems

ADDITION AND SUBTRACTION

how much does the sky weigh at any one time
when counting all things that fly
that intermingle and evaporate
that rise and fall
all things hidden from our view

do the gods calculate such things
standing on the clouds in their rhinestone sandals?

one came to me through my open window
on a summer night
when I was a child hiding inside my heart

her hair a radiant curtain, gently lifted
she smelled of green cut grass
and wore a dress of soft white moon cloth

she smiled and when she spoke
a sparkle of fireflies floated out into the air

believe, she said
and gave me a tiny pearl covered in wings, to swallow
use this to float up to the sky
and you will be counted

what is the power of hope
when compared to the density of darkness

what is the weight of the gravity beneath our beds
what is the weight of the sky when we arrive

do the gods consider such things?

(Previously published in Verse-Virtual)

CAN YOU HEAR IT?

it is a sound
not of lamentation
or loneliness or frailty

it is not hollow or of substance
it does not howl or echo

it is the song of an open hand
without fingers or palm

a murmeration of whirling starlings
too high to be seen or heard

it is an unstruck drum
beating out in syncopated sparks
of darkness

it is the sound
of a dream
dreaming of itself

it is the sound
of a limitless blue vase
the color of nothing
overflowing its edges
forming silent clear waterfalls
forever replenished
flowing down
without end

(Previously published in Stripes Literary Magazine)

UNFOLDING

unfold the black and white picture
that opens to a perfect square

look at this young, white-gloved girl
posing and smiling as directed

the year, the subjects, the occasion
written in pen on the back

see the perfect ribbon in her hair
the perfect patent leather shoes on her feet

following the fold
a jagged crease across her parents’ faces

see how their hands do not touch
see the cold snow at their feet

and this one, buried at the bottom of a drawer
scratched and torn, yellowed tape at the edges

opening to a brown-eyed woman-child in shades of gray
folded across the heart

smooth-skinned, round-cheeked
her full-lipped mouth holding back her questions

and another, in color, twice folded in anger
leaving the shape of a cross

beside a stranger, a young woman kneels at an altar
a thirsty gypsy at an empty well

and another
a young woman holds a brown-eyed boy in her lap

he holds a teddy bear and picture of his absent father
folded down into a tiny iron-weighted square

this one, in a frame
not yet tucked away in someone’s keepsake box

a gray-haired woman
listening to music from her youth

she stands at an easel near a sun-filled window
her face and palms creased with time

she is painting a woman, painting a woman
who is wondering about the sound of stars

she paints the light illuminating a garden
the singing birds and dragonflies

as she tries to remember
all the people she has been

(Previously published in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily)

WAITING EMBRACE

lying back on a black satin sheet
in your sequined gown

stippled courtesan
to the alpha and the omega

moons ringing your neck like pearls
iridescent breasts plump as star clusters

dark hair lying long as a light year
from one heaven to another

lips
the color of Martian soil

arms endless, spread open
in promise of holy ruin

as if to say take it slow and don’t worry
I am the fated traveler’s velvet dream

I have given my forever love
to everyone from Eden to Ursa Major

there will be no going back
when we embrace in glittered desire

when I burn you down
into a single tongue of flame

and finally, make of you an echo
of that one small light

(Previously published in POETiCA REVIEW)

NEITHER KINDNESS NOR CRUELTY

though the man was sure
he had taught her a lesson
she would never forget
with the orderly cut
of his sharp metal plough

the Wild, in no hurry
laughed as she kept time
with her flying dandelion clocks
her circling hawks
her loyal following of shadows

she was a being
he did not understand
who spoke
with doppler’d wing songs
slimy croaking toads
one-note owls

she was a self-sufficient metamorphic
who understood
the history of the wind
what it might bring
what it might take away

having axed his chickens
fenced his cows
mastered his porch-dwelling dog
and the horse that pulled his plough
the man was sure
he could command her to follow
his seasons of need

she was patient with his folly
knowing someday
with her slow and inevitable entanglements
her clever raccoons
her hungry moles and rabbits
her legions of stem borers
pod suckers, aphids and weevils
she would reclaim his ordered field

with neither kindness
nor cruelty
with the help of the sun and rain
she knew she would pull down his barn
and give it to the bats and spiders
then bring his plough to its broken, rusted knees

in time
when his widow buried him beneath a tree
and made an offering of his body
the Wild gathered him in
embraced him with her encircling roots
loved him
deeply
until they were one

(Previously published in The Tipton Poetry Journal)

WHITE DRESS ON A CLOTHESLINE

who has left this delicate cotton cloth
handsewn with care
to fit a young girl’s shape
with its small white buttons
its white lace collar
pinned at the shoulders
on this worn clothesline
behind this empty farmhouse?

the cloth is thin
and made for dense summer days
when this tree above
would have been fertile green
when there would have been
birds singing
a song for rising
a song for resting
a song by which to wander
a song to call the children home

more empty than the broken chairs
on the collapsing porch
this abandoned house
will soon be embraced by wild
come to claim, consume, console –
one day, it will call this cotton dress
with its blue satin ribbon about the waist
to rejoin the brown earth

this empty white dress
uplifted and released
ascending and descending
in the chilly breeze

(Previously published in Writing in a Woman’s Voice)

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