Alysse McCanna ’07

Alysse was born in the Midwest and relocated to sunny Colorado after graduation. She holds an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Driftwood, Madcap, Coal Hill Review, The Olentangy Review, Pilgrimage, and The Comstock Review, among others.

Learn more about Alysse’s work on her website. 

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