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/ Two Poems

Two Poems

by Alexis Ivy

Rand Mcnally’s Atlas Of The Continental Usa

               With maps, it’s all human nature, 
                            not ever nature-nature.

                                         I mean, I’m from Boston.  
                            When I touch the named-after-British 

                                                     towns I feel quaint.  Gloucester
                                         Plymouth. On a map I can touch 

                            the places unreachable to me.
                                         Mountains, every starred capital. 

                            It’s not about distance just the best way 
                to get to the next view: once in a lifetime. 

                            Isn’t every view once in a lifetime? 
                I avoid straight lines, always take the road 

                             that goes alongside a river.  Move through 
                                           I-80 past Kansas.  Press my pointer finger 

                             on a western landscape 
               without a dot.  I want there.

Ute Petroglyphs

Why that wall?  Did that wall 
have the last light of day on it?  
Did they cross over fire as ceremony?

Did they burn a bundle each night
for warmth, working to cover 
their bones?  

Petroglyph: a pile of could-be blankets—
their trade was blankets.

How the hell did these glyphs survive
in a shadow on a canyon side? 

Petroglyph: crescent moon over 
five stick horses heading west—
night, the best time to travel.

Tried to figure out their story, 
there may have been 900 stories.

Petroglyph: a wheel 
missing a few spokes
a curse to any pilgrimage.

Petroglyph: two figures hugging—
where there’s river, there is love.

Alexis Ivy

About Alexis Ivy

Alexis Ivy is a 2018 recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in Poetry and the author of Romance with Small-Time Crooks (BlazeVOX [books], 2013), and Taking the Homeless Census (Saturnalia Books, 2020) which won the 2018 Saturnalia Editors Prize. Her poems have recently appeared in Saranac ReviewPoet Lore and Sugar House Review. She lives in her hometown, Boston. Find her at

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.