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Welcome to the Solar System,

Welcome to the Woods

The Earth rolls across its velvet dark

without our notice.

It leans shoulderwise,

and our breath spirals in the cold.

Over a fire, our faces unsettle in blocks—

golden jaw, uplit brow.

We talk about kidney failure, old homes,

the systems falling apart,

and further out in the dark, coyotes

get up to their hungry revel.

Those cousin voices pull at the dogs

ghosting between our chairs,

but we restrain them—

remember, teeth, remember, bigger-than-you.

And what a pleasant night.

Off and on, we tilt our faces up

at a handful of familiar stars

and think we recognize, just for an instant,

whatever strange, pricking language

the out-there speaks.


AZA PACE’s poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Copper Nickel, Tupelo Quarterly, New Ohio Review, Passages North, Mudlark, Bayou, and elsewhere. She is the winner of two Academy of American Poets Prizes and an Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize in Poetry. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Houston and is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of North Texas.


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