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A. E. Stallings

A. E. Stallings is the author of four poetry collections, including Like (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018). Her other collections include Olives: Poems (Triquarterly, 2013), Hapax (Northwestern University Press, 2006), and Archaic Smile (University of Evansville Press, 1999). She lives in Athens, Greece.

By This Poet


Sea Girls

              for Jason

"Not gulls, girls." You frown, and you insist—
Between two languages, you work at words
(R's and L's, it's hard to get them right.)
We watch the heavens' flotsam:  garbage-white
Above the island dump (just out of sight),
Dirty, common, greedy—only birds.
OK, I acquiesce, too tired to banter.

Somehow they're not the same, though. See, they rise
As though we glimpsed them through a torn disguise—
Spellbound maidens, wild in flight, forsaken—
Some metamorphosis that Ovid missed,
With their pale breasts, their almost human cries.
So maybe it is I who am mistaken;
But you have changed them. You are the enchanter.