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Al Maginnes

Night Deer


At night deer the color of fog

drift on the slow-bending hills


behind my house. Their eyes, green,

luminous, shine against


whatever light reaches them.

If there is another world,


it is this one, filled

with creatures whose bodies


we can’t touch, who resist

all our sweet lures. They know


where they are and remain

while we, less sure, call


after the promise of difference

that dangles from every new life.

Dark History


The sky, we praise always. The bones, never.

The plains and deep mountains sketched glories

we were told to worship. Never the crow.

Never the trickster beast. The eagle would

be our talisman. All written for us.

We could ignore the death songs bodies must

give in tribute to our circle of flesh.

The dirt, the grass, all earth was ours to take.

This was the myth that seasoned us. Rivers,

trees, coal would be infinite forever.

We could laugh at those who thought such things holy.

Whatever we restored would be reborn

as we secretly thought we would be.

Possibility would remain endless

for hands made to receive and shape the sky.

Maginnes - Dark History
Al Maginnes

Al Maginnes is the author of seven collections of poetry, most recently The Next Place (IrisPress) and Sleeping Through the Graveyard Shift (Third Lung Press). New or recent poems appear in North American Review, Shenandoah, San Pedro River Review and others. He is the music editor of the online journal Connotation. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and teaches at Wake Technical Community College.

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