Two poems by Ivy Alvarez


Lo, though he were in Gethsemane, he was also with me.

The thigh bone is strong but, at a certain point, it is like a twig. Even a bird, alighting after a long journey, ruffling its wings in a shiver, could, in shrugging its feathered shoulder, break it.

If I told you I had green wings, you wouldn’t believe me. But I am not a beetle. I am one of the sefiroth.

Ice has formed on my face at high altitudes, the crust like a delicate beard, clinging to my jaw line. Up there, it can frost normal lungs.

Sleep is overrated, though I long for it often.
(first published in fourW in Australia, and nominated for Best Poem in 2010)
Horse-drawn slave

Abide these shackles do I, how horse-teeth tears at me, its mane my bed.
The field needs me to till. Earth churns and turns. The beast is tired.
Wide-gaited for a wee thing. I say Gorse and he turns his head.
See? Gorse. Sometimes dense. How the cold wraps us both, like breath expired.
Mind it, Gorse, and he does. The sea comes and goes out of sight.
Rest for a water gulp. We plough. We furrow, shackle-heavy, blinkered view.
Find fences, rocks. Fairy skirts of lichen! Soon it be night.
Oppressed of sight, poor Gorse. We share apple bite, no harvest new,
complain naught, pointless as a mound. Indentured under reign,
the owner says, and I nod, click my tongue, mud covering me.
(first published in Takahē (#85), New Zealand)
Ivy Alvarez‘s second poetry collection is Disturbance (Seren, 2013). She is also the author of several shorter collections, including Hollywood Starlet (Chicago: dancing girl press, 2015) and The Everyday English Dictionary (London: Paekakariki Press, 2016). A recipient of writing fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Hawthornden Castle and Fundacion Valparaiso, her work appears in journals and anthologies in many countries and online, with selected poems translated into Russian, Spanish, Japanese and Korean. Twitter @IvyAlvarez