A.E. Stallings

A.E. Stallings’s This Afterlife: Selected Poems will be published by Carcanet in December.

Poem: ‘The Sieve’

A.E. Stallings, 26 May 2022

I bought an antique sieve of hammered tinFor its decorative holes

Patterned like a flower, or a star explodingAt one of the poles.

I think of all it has sifted: flour and sugar,Dust and light,

What must be ground so fine, so fine! to pass through –Milled, contrite.

Light and time it has sifted, like a metal welkinOf punctual stars,

The cold hieroglyphs of the constellations,The raised scars


Poem: ‘Pine Processionaries’

A.E. Stallings, 27 January 2022

Warmer and warmercreep the late Januarys,disturbed beauty of

precocious flowers,the ease of a year’s first swim.Pulsing in their silk

tent in the tree’s crotchthe pine processionariesbegin to emerge

head to tail to headto tail, inevitableas cause and effect,

the rungs of numbers.Column of janissaries,they pour like roller

coasters or compoundcentipedes, devouring morerange each year,...

Poem: ‘Peacocks’

A.E. Stallings, 7 October 2021

I speak to the unbeautiful of this bird.                                         James Merrill

The peacock thinks he can’t be seen:Stealthily towards the cat-food bowlHe stalks, while I’m behind the screenCoffee in hand: peacock patrol.More blue than the Saronic, green

As bristles...

Poem: ‘Ghazal of the Fiftieth Danaid’

A.E. Stallings, 9 September 2021

Sisters, infernal virgins, would you kill again,Knowing the endless sieves you would refill again?

Night is where the day’s mistakes repeat,I swallow the bitter crumb, the sleeping pill again.

Isn’t the womb the sieve, the moon the springFrom which blood’s phases rise, and fill, and spill again?

I carried thrice, bore twice, and once I grievedAnd shouldered my vessel up the...

Much of A.E. Stallings’s work can seem like light verse that suddenly appals: solid, foundational stanzas that chat directly with you, distracting you from the fact that you’re perched with her, Humpty...

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