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Five poems from Abracadabra may be read through this page.

The fourth -- first published in the Canadian literary magazine The Fiddlehead, Copyright Paula Bonnell 1981, 2011, 2018 -- is this:


More distant than cousins
at many removes, their connection
more attenuated than telephone wires,
they are yet closer than
kissing cousins,
close as flame to moth,
held by the broken blacks
of ink laid down
in letter shapes.
Like Venn circles
they overlap,
exactly at the words.

And"Plain Speech" was first published in Southern Poetry Review.

Plain Speech

There are two great things: in the day, work;
in the night, heartbeats. Against these is the grave.
Not the sensory qualities of its earth lining,
but the isolation of the hole itself, the non-place.
In the day, love is as unseen as the sun;
it simply illumines with a general light.
In the dark, like the stars, it draws attention as it becomes particular.
Work is as unnoticed in the night as sleep;
the shadows which made the day's forms distinct
have come to a fullness, one that love rides.
The earth turns as imperceptibly as the sonnet
used to do; it's come about now.
Mouths touch and separate, feet feel the floor.
From the center, gravity holds everything down.

Copyright Paula Bonnell 1982, 1984, 1985, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2018. All rights reserved.

"Plain Speech" subsequently appeared in the ANTHOLOGY OF MAGAZINE VERSE &

Yearbook of American Poetry (1984 edition) and in The Sunday Boston Herald's April 2001

National Poetry Month feature. It also won a Cambridge Poetry Festival award.