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You Are My Cartographer

02 April, 2019: You Are My Cartographer


You are my cartographer

by Aubrey Crosby

You have laid me down bare and traced the world upon me. At first, I wondered how you’d get by, the smooth and fertile land now left brittle and barren, punctured with the track marks of a compass pressed too tightly. But you made it. With your finger brushed against my skin, you raised mountains out of goosebumps. You coerced forests of dark follicles to their erection and traced gentle streams of sweat around them until they seeped down into the valleys below. You whispered my name, your lips pushing against each other as the exhale of its sound lifted the algae from its bed. Glimmers of phosphorescence rippled across the streams, as we separated, like topography, the parts that were artificial and vain. Then, you placed your hand onto my chest, and with one push, you pressed into me the cadence of a rising tide. And I found that I could breathe again.

“You are my cartographer” by Aubrey Crosby. Copyright Aubrey Crosby, 2018. Used by permission of the author.

Aubrey Crosby is an English adjunct instructor at several Midwest universities. She is currently earning her PhD in composition and rhetoric at Kent State University and is the program director for The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Her poems have appeared in The Quill Magazine, Toledo Poetry Project and Eclipse Literary Magazine.


Write a poem on one of these quotes:
            “There’s, of course, poetry:/ awful bridge rising over naked air” (Adrienne Rich)
             “The plain language of the dogs/ Who in a few syllables have everything to say”                                                  (Cleopatra Mathis)
             “And time slips by like a field mouse not shaking the grass” (Ezra Pound)

J. T. Martin
Gentle whispers of clouds in rain, rolls above the bridge to share its space in time
4/3/2019 10:56:07 PM

4/3/2019 7:19:20 PM

Ezra Pound, you terrorist, be cool, be quiet.

The botany prof slips his class through the beech-maple forest, asks:

What's the softest sound?

Don't you know? He laughs,
It's a field mouse gumming on a pussywillow.

He must've borrowed the question from Ezra's answer. And didn't you know he was really a xenophobe.
4/2/2019 11:28:25 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.