Born & raised in the Midwest, Alysse McCanna-Davidson ('07) relocated to sunny
Colorado with her husband after graduation. In 2007, she was awarded the
Elizabeth Babcock Poetry Prize from Smith. Most recently, in 2010, Alysse was the
winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, and was published in the Women Who
Write Annual Anthology, from Calliope. Each year, Alysse writes 30 poems in 30 days
in both April and November, which provides her with much inspiration, and much

  Alysse McCanna-Davidson '07


Still Life with Dynamite

I wanted proof of my existence,
something pulsing with life, tangible
to display as evidence for passersby.
I wanted thick black brushstrokes to immortalize
your eyebrows and nostrils,
the sloping plane of my lover's back,
the yielding skin of a ripe pear.

But today I realize life isn't a possession,
that looking through the camera lens
I miss what is cut out of the frame.
A soft pencil attempting to organize your anatomy
keeps me from tracing your skin with my palms instead.
Today I cannot live through words or pictures,
these interpretations.

Tomorrow I will set down my instruments;
tomorrow I will be preoccupied with the world.
I will accept time, and fill it
with the airy bricks of memory,
rearrangeable and removable;
I will remember
to keep a pocket empty for silence,
to travel well, and light.

Reprinted with thanks from Porcupine, 2006