Three Poems by A.K. Alder

Sandy’s Sonnet

after “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth,
for Sandra Aring: poet, artist, friend, mother-in-law

Fourteen stems snipped 
from the roadside show,
punctuate the end of another lonely walk 
in this second Spring without you. 
Only a fraction of the crowd 
did I gingerly harvest, bring back, 
to color the night sunny, 
infuse our mourning home 
with temporary hope. 
On the bookcase now the daffodils wilt.
Crumbled paper petals hang, 
crisp, dry, framing muted trumpets 
whose music now resounds 
only the silent fragrance of change. 

After the Flood

I spend a good chunk of time
looking out my window, 
toward the water. Perhaps 
trying to will something better 
than pollution, destruction, death.

The water runs with debris:
cars lie buried in the sediment, 
clothing, ripped and torn,
sways from sycamore branches,
ghosts swim the tide.

It's quieter here since the flood.
The road’s been closed for weeks. 
The hummings, chirpings 
of late summer resound again, accessible.
The air is unusually fresh, 
lacks exhaust, conjures something new. 

I hear in the distance a boisterous call, 
loud, urgent, uninterrupted 
by the din of the road.
It is the geese I have watched nest
on these waters for three generations— 
they are coming home. 


Masculinity is a home 
I adorn with feminine touch.
Sturdy in utility, 
yet remaining open 
to consumptive gaze. 

On this fluid canvas 
I untangle presupposition,
paint against expectation. 
I start with a conventional stroke 
then curve, expansive and unrestrained.

A.K. Alder (they/them) is a writer, poet, naturalist, activist, and teacher who lives in the Mid-Atlantic Piedmont ecoregion of the United States. Alder holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and has written for past positions with Towson University, Baltimore County’s Department of Forest Management and Sustainability, and Tualatin Hills Nature Center. Follow their work on their website at:

%d bloggers like this: