The River From My Mouth
Irises open their tight blue hearts
in a day, this is how I remember it,
the dark of birth unbolts.
Like thunder-clouds or starlings.
Breaking into air.
This is how the heart breaks,
not into pieces, but blue tongues.
A kind of grace
in this disregarding world.
Blue tongues, and at their center,
a yellow star.
Praise for The River From My Mouth
“Song emerges from what must live,” Karla Van Vliet writes in one of the precise, sculpted poems that comprise this collection—and then, with such a strong, clear voice, she offers the very music of that survival. Listen carefully to this book, and you will hear what it so generously reveals: the “word made of the body.” These are poems that speak “loss fluently”—the loss of home, of love, of self—but in their very expression they offer a means of return and reclamation.
Karin Gottshall, Author of award winning Crocus
Located in a minimalist’s pastoral, excised of all but the basest of nouns, and scored by plaintive birdsong, Karla Van Vliet’s poems skitter and soar with a tentative elegance, alighting on topics ranging from religious faith, to carnal lust, to the shortcomings of language. “There are two ways to live in the world,” Van Vliet states. “Walk the fields collecting dashes of color in my sweaty fist, or dig, dig the hole I will bury the hunched back of my body in.” These poems offer an aerial perspective of the crossroad—they migrate bravely through adversity, and teach the reader to “bear the throat’s breath, the shiver of leaves made strange by meaning.”
Paige Ackerson-Kiely, Author of award winning In No One’s Land