Aliesa Zoecklein – Two Poems


On the Train

Black birds drift and spiral over a newly planted field.

An old man in overalls waves at the train.

Switchyard, smokestack.
Graffiti on boxcars.

My hermit moon crossing the long prairie at night.
A little fog in the long fingers of the trees.


In the late morning jostle of lemon light,
train buffs argue about windows, whether Lexan or glass,
whether bullet proof or merely resistant.

I look out at the deckled edges of a field while a fellow
traveler calls out his predictions of gloom:

In this century of separation
and feathers falling from diseased trees. . . .

You may need to relearn
what it means to survive a life.

Up ahead, I see a bridge.
Up ahead, I see a hillside shimmering
like a hundred million copper coins.


Beneath the barrel-vaulted skylight of the station,
I stand in the tumult and echo of commuters.

A man quickly folds his tie
then slips it into a chestnut-brown satchel.
On the phone, I hear him say, “Let me think about it on the train.”



Coffee Break with Apples

In the blue flame
circling the pot.
In the breeze drifting
through the back door.
In the scent of coffee brewing.

In dappled light
on a yellow wall.

In apple skins.
In the coring through to seeds
in their windowed chambers.
In seedshine.

In the swirling clouds of milk.
In the sweet avalanche
of sugar.
In the clinking
of the spoon against the sides
of the cup.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty is that quiet messenger of grace that both startles and reassures. Whether an ordinary apple resting on a kitchen counter or scenes flashing from a train window, beauty stops me, makes me whisper,  Yes. This! then draws me forward for more.


Aliesa Zoecklein won the 2014 Peter Meinke Award for her chapbook At Each Moment, Air. Her poems have appeared in Pleiades, Water-stone Review, Grist, Cimarron Review, and Cream City Review. A happy transplant from Southern California, Aliesa lives with her partner in Gainesville, Florida where she teaches writing at Santa Fe College.