By Terry Wolverton


Tundra, come in from the cold. Sit down
by firelight of this last world and thaw
your aching bones. If you remember
any stories, tell them now, before
the room dissolves and flows into sea.

Oceans overwhelm their shores and land
is all awash. Soon evolution
will run backward; we’ll be aquatic
once more. Tundra, you’re a pretty word
printed in waterlogged books. Tundra,

you’re the name of my unborn daughter.
You’re a faint lullaby I whisper
in my lover’s ear at night. Tundra,
you’re the straw harp I play in heaven.
Lay your frigid cheek against my lap;

let me strum you to sleep. Your strings
slice the tips of my fingers; speckles
of ice sprinkle out, glint on crimson
cloth. This is how I know you’ve entered
my heart, Tundra, with your frosted light.


TERRY WOLVERTON is author of eleven books of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, including Embers, a novel in poems, and Insurgent Muse: art and life at the Woman’s Building, a memoir. Her most recent poetry collection is Ruin Porn. In 2017, Terry conducted an experimental poetry project, “dis•articulations 2017,” collaborating with a different Los Angeles poet each month to create new works; the results were published at Entropy Magazine. She has also edited fourteen literary compilations, including the Lambda Award winning His: brilliant new fiction by gay men and Hers: brilliant new fiction by lesbians. Terry also collaborated with composer David Ornette Cherry to adapt Embers as a jazz opera. Terry has received a COLA Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles, a Fellowship in Poetry from the California Arts Council, and the Judy Grahn Award from the Publishing Triangle, among other honors. She is the founder of Writers At Work, a creative writing studio in Los Angeles, and Affiliate Faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles. She is also an instructor of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation.

4 responses to “Tundra”

  1. Nancy Kehr says:

    Wonderful poem.

  2. Wonderful poem. I have one of Terry’s earlier book of poems, Black Slip, and every once in a while it pops to the top of my stacks and I read a poem or two.

  3. Ramon Garcia says:

    Beautiful poem!

  4. Ronna Perrin says:

    Exquisite poem.

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