"Nautilus" by Joannie Stangeland

Joannie Stangeland

Joannie Stangeland

Joannie Stangeland's new book, Into the Rumored Spring, was published last fall by Ravenna Press, and she's the author of two poetry chapbooks- Weathered Steps and A Steady Longing for Flight, which won the Floating Bridge Press chapbook award. Joannie's poems have appeared in The Midwest Quarterly, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Tulane Review, Fire On Her Tongue, and other publications. Joannie's taught writing at Richard Hugo House and LiTFUSE, and she's the poetry editor for the online journal The Smoking Poet.


Chambered, like printer's box of type

or a string of spools, hotel bent
around a finger—linger in sequence,

mathematics hollowed on the beach.
One story sealed after building
the next walls, living just larger,

an echo salon to say the ocean over
and over, a spiral built for paper dolls,
each one creased, replaced. Who was I
in that house? What muscle's gone,
this not-coffin, this husk a smooth slide

the body left? Oh pearly incandescence—
emptied chapters of maybe turning in
and in again to the smallest curl—I thought
I knew how being began, center barely
balanced. An eddy churns—here
reversed, the universe twirling out, growing
farther apart. Atoms and stars, hard
in a hand, the years' rooms memory-thick.