Poets Read Sunday Special: Alexandra Donovan and Nicholas McGaughey

We are pleased to offer our Poets Read series in honor of National Poetry Month 2019 and will run it throughout the month of April. 

Every day in April, our website and our YouTube channel will feature the voice of a poet whose work has appeared in our pages over the past year. On Sundays, we will offer two poets for your enjoyment. 

Today’s poems are Blombos Cave: South Africa 75,000 BCE Ochre Stone by Alexandra Donovan, which appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review, and A Black Star by Nicholas McGaughey from the Spring 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review.

Blombos Cave: South Africa 75,000 BCE Ochre Stone by Alexandra Donovan from the Summer 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review
Blombos Cave, South Africa, 75,000 BCE: Ochre Stone
by Alexandra Donovan

No bird.
No antelope with red line leap.
No mastodon.
No sloth bear.
No hunt, no hand
missing index finger of offering.
No blood. No rite.
Just three points
and three lines, between.
The sun tied to two stars.
Call this: shape.
Call language: the lip of shape, the edge
by which something can be carried.
Inside, invisible:
bird, antelope, arrow, hand, blood.
Three more points. 
Three more lines.
And more. And more.
These, not just touching:
consuming each other
in each other’s sliced parts
where lines cross.
Suns jut past stars.
Skies upon skies.
Trees cross trees and are not trees.
No birds cross
from slice to slice of sky.
These together: what is understood.
What is understood: tomorrow. A handing-off.
This stone.
Imagined: others like us.
Invisible: everything known.

A Black Star
by Nicholas McGaughey

A black star 
in the cosmos is
The greens and blues
it bred and breathed, 
its cycles quartzed in rock,
is now a round cinder,
a keyhole in the sky,
dead as any Moon.

War didn’t make it sleep,
or the carnage of religions,
or strangers from the fictions 
of our eyes. 

It was you and
me. Just letting things 
be - as the seasons 
fell, and the oceans  
swamped over street and forest.

Forgive us; 
we couldn't pray
to gods we had decreed as

About the Poets:

Alexandra Donovan

Alexandra Donovan is a poet, workshop facilitator, and hospice chaplain living in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her passions include hiking, swimming, caves, rain, black coffee, shamanic journeys, and the intersections of writing, loss, and the spiritual path. She currently teaches poetry through the Denver Lighthouse Writers Workshop for cancer patients and their caregivers at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver. Her first chapbook, Mother Stump, is now available from Yak Press. You can find more of her writing on her website at amdonovan.com.

Nicholas McGaughey

Nicholas McGaughey is currently part of the Literature Wales Mentoring Scheme for 2019-20. He has published poems recently in Chicago Literati/Poetry Scotland/Ink Sweat and Tears/The Lampeter Review/London Grip and Skylight 47. He has work forthcoming in the anthologies Story Cities/Noon/As You Were and An Outbreak of Peace