Point of No Return

Point of No Return

La Alameda Press, 2005
(113 pages, $14.00)
Cover art by Bruce Lowne
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“Written with eloquent clarity, in poems as lucid as dawn, Anne Valley-Fox has given us a brave and memorable account of the point of no return . . . . In language by turns raucous, wry, tender and tough, these incisive narratives find voice in the mythology of the ordinary. The poems are sure, masterful, but not mere expositions of craft—they are made of passion and a willingness to risk . . . .”
-R. W. French
“This book finds Valley-Fox at the top of her game as a goddess and a wordsmith, an irresistible combination.”
-Suzi Winson
“The poems in this collection are love poems in the fullest, most authentic sense. They are poems about love’s birth, about its transformation, about its death. They are, in other words, poems about the mystery of it, one of the hardest burdens humans have to bear—which is precisely why we return to it so often.”
-Frederick Turner

Poems from Point of No Return

Extramarital Sex

A masochist trained in extravagant feats of mind-over-matter
sat in a box for 24 hours in deep meditation
while thousands of scorpions made themselves at home
on his person: backs of his knees, between his toes, his groin, neck, eyelashes, scalp, etcetera.

You were recalling the scorpion king
before you fell asleep last night and so in your dream
you took a spider into your mouth and right away
she bit you. Your tongue ballooned so you could barely phone me:
”A black widow bit my tongue–help me!”
But I refused. “You put the venomous thing in your mouth–
you take the consequences.”

I feel ashamed, when you tell me the dream, not to have
come to your aid. I might have saved you. I might have redeemed
our relations. But fucking A, how dumb can you get–
taking a thing you know to be deadly
into your mouth like that?

Point of No Return

What was the critical border
crossed, corner
bridge burned behind us?

Collapse may follow
crisis, like
the fall of Rome:

            grain shortages
                                    slave revolt

The emperor, forgetting himself
becomes a combatant,
stages a bloodbath, burns
the city down.

Where is the point of no return?
No one sees it coming or
can tell you when.

Penelope Dreams the Seashore

The man I loved and bestowed on the sea
strides from the water.

Bronzed and blinkered, bristling sun
he plows a lane across the sand towards

something that wants him.
Standing aside on barnacled rock, I don’t even

turn, knowing her flesh beats
with wild birds.

Untold bitterness pools in my mouth: this I spit
in a hard arc to the sea.