Victoria Bosch Murray


Victoria Bosch Murray’s poetry has appeared in American Poetry Journal, Booth, Field, Greensboro Review, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Salamander, Tar River Poetry, The Potomac, and elsewhere. Her chapbook of poems On the Hood of Someone Else’s Car was published in 2010 by Finishing Line Press. In 2012, the editors at Booth nominated her poem “Manners” for a Pushcart Prize. She has an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College and is a contributing editor at Salamander.


Birds abandon the trees in twos,
threes, tens or more at a time.

The windows beside the bed
are pallets, little Sistines, story boards

of consecutive action, force
and fault: first this

and then this: it is summer, and
then you wake to slanted

light, your sometime-lover
beside you sleeping. Or

awake? His hand, a lone
mosaic on your restless thigh,

a known thing: this I own.
You watch takeoff, the thrall of

symmetrical tessellation, this
beyond branches brown,

a burnt green harbinger
of fall, a consolation of

metaphor, these birds machine
and bike chain, peppercorn and

poppy seed, flung opium and
hope patterning a loose

mathematical certainty, or
the approximation of, something

calculable by someone else,
somewhere else.

If math expresses the universe, what’s the algorithm for love? What’s the equation for being in the moment? That morning I woke up and saw the birds ‘abandon’ the trees, it got me thinking about what they looked like, ‘peppercorns and / poppy seed,’ but also that they meant change. I thought about how people study these patterns in nature, the expression of constants, the constant of change, and the fact that whatever pleasure there is in the moment, the lover beside me, the beauty of the birds, the only guarantee is change. It was a moment of slanted light, a ‘certain Slant,’ as Emily Dickinson called it, the kind where the ‘Landscape listens.’