Our Work Changed | Poetry | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Our Work Changed

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into the sound of paper being torn

to shreds


our new work commences

with windows thrown open

while scraps fly about

we try but can't catch them


our faces muffled and concealed

our work now is to translate a smile

into something we can do

with our gloved hands


our paper shreds wilt

with the first blooms of spring

snowdrops collapsing back into the ground


our work is to look away

from the thirsty soil and up

into the still bare trees


before the leaves emerge

you can discern which branches

remain alive


we look for a bird

because our work

is no longer to predict the weather

or the bud


but to see the song

as it slips

from a tiny throat

into our new stillness

­— Alison Prine

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Alison Prine's debut collection of poems, Steel (Cider Press Review, 2016), was named a finalist for the 2017 Vermont Book Award. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Five Points, Harvard Review and Prairie Schooner among others. She lives and works in Burlington. Learn more at alisonprine.com.