To Cause to Stand Still

Emily Barton Altman

From the hearth, focus:
the earth, hot and still
in its instance.
Fire as root,
tended and sown for some other
need, other than
here. Be
here—how easy it is
to leave and to take,
nothing behind.
Recycle bones, frail
architecture, to become
another thing, skinned structure
wrapped and dusted, subject
to particular winds. Spangled is
the earth with her crowns.
Walk back
the way you came
to tell the ground.


Emily Barton Altman is the author of two chapbooks, "Bathymetry" (Present Tense Pamphlets, 2016), and "Alice Hangs Her Map" (dancing girl press, 2019). Recent poems appear in Bodega, The Journal Petra, Dream Pop Press, Ghost Proposal, and elsewhere. She co-produces the poetry podcast Make (No) Bones and co-edits the journal pulpmouth. She is a recipient of a Poets & Writers Amy Award and received her MFA from New York University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in English and Creative Writing at the University of Denver.