Flying West after Einstein on the Beach

Maleea Acker



Anvil clouds ratcheting up the uncertain line

where white distance meets blue. Before the mountains,

stripes and squares of farms, the occasional, reckless


disorder of rivers. Rivulets muscle into the plains

intimate with wind farms and pump jacks,

crops throw their backs into the dark folds and flow.


I am caught between the love of an opera

and the sadness of the fields. The music thinks itself

mosaic, an ever-shifting pattern: light, numbers,

foliage, the advancing parade of punctuation.


It grows ornamental as conversation

on the shortest night, on a balcony bar,

a tree lavish between deck

and midnight blue. For five hours the world


on the edge of its chair.

To repeat the phrase, the rap on the door,

the studied breath, until one is let in. I don’t know

how notes measure against form. I don’t


know how tone in its waver

is so unflawed, even without the violin’s meander. Or how,

even as the insisting erasure of a hand can charm cloth—

like a field, like a continent of fields—the hand also remembers


the earth’s strangeness, all its feral, uneven darkness—

This is about stories left on the table, all of us

leaving, forever waving like siblings

as the plane retreats into the wings.




Maleea Acker is the author of two books of poems and a book of essays. She has an MFA in Writing, an MA in Literature and has received fellowships to arts residencies in Canada, the US, Spain and Mexico. She teaches at the University of Victoria where she is completing a PhD in Cultural Geography.