by Alex Stanley
Only knowing the mountains because they’re darker
than the sky, racing the night on the 5,
the sun rising from the east, while truckers rest
atop hills, above the headlight river—
the reflection of taillights, the narrowing road—
beauty in a soft curve, the earth getting lighter
as it grows up, having spent yesterday wracked
when all I had to do was stand and claim the night.
After rain, the flood drifts me further north.
The low fog makes a mesa of the mountains,
while the sun doesn’t so much rise
as cover each color in a new skin.
A cloud of blackbirds shifts beneath the mist,
before the sea, before I called morning “morning.”
Alex Stanley is a graduate of Boston College, and he received his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine. He is a former sports journalist, and his sports writing has been featured in Sports Illustrated. His published poems have appeared in American Poets Magazine, the HCE Review, Helix Magazine, Duck Lake Journal, The Write Launch and the Doozine. He is a recipient of the 2021 Academy of American Poets Award. He resides in Costa Mesa, CA.