Laure-Anne Bosselaar is the author and of The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, and of Small Gods of Grief which was awarded the Isabella Gardner Prize for Poetry for 2001. Her third poetry collection, A New Hunger, was published by Ausable Press in 2007.

She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, and her poems have appeared in reviews such as The Washington Post, Georgia Review, Ploughshares, AGNI, Harvard Review, and many others.

She is the editor of four anthologies: Night Out: Poems about Hotels, Motels, Restaurants and Bars; Outsiders: Poems about Rebels, Exiles and Renegades; Urban Nature: Poems about Wildlife in the Cities; and Never Before: Poems About First Experiences.

Bosselaar currently teaches a graduate poetry workshop at Sarah Lawrence College, as well as at the Low Residency MFA Program at Pine Manor College. She translates American poetry into French and Flemish poetry into English. With her husband, poet Kurt Brown, she translated a selection of poems entitled The Plural of Happiness, by the Flemish poet, critic and essayist Herman de Coninck.

A New Hunger
Small Gods of Grief
The Hour Between Dog and Wolf

Four Poems by Laure-Anne Bosselaar


              That rat's too smart to come
to the rows of crumbs I sowed
by the pond; he has the patience of true
hunger: he'll wait me out

              with the same tenacity
I had as a child, hungry to grow
strong enough to escape the nunnery
without being caught.

              I loved the rats of Bruges
I watched from the dorm window,
how they slunk out the courtyard
sewer grill, slid along walls,

              slipped down the cellar steps
like whispers, and vanished into gray.
I loved three in particular—christened
them the Trinity:

              the Father was slick, sullen,
the Daughter tense but lissome,
and the fat-bellied one, the Holy Ghost,
maker of miracles, was the Mother.

              I imagined they came
from Antwerp, from the port's stinking
sewage by the Coal Wharf, last quay
before the wild, eager sea.

              And there were times, when
beatings seared my skin with hues
of oil on the river Scheldt, and I
squeezed my thumbs              

              in my fists through long
convent nights, there were times
I prayed to the Rat Trinity. To
show me the way

              out, through Bruges sewers
and cobbled rows, then underground
to Ghent, out again through velour
fields of wheat near Antwerp,

              and hasten to my parents'
house where Mother wore silk
and Father blew smoke halos in the air.
I prayed the rats

              to bring me back to the young
whispers of their bed and into Mother's
fat, white belly. To crown them
with the trinity

              they had hungered for:
a Father, Mother, and from their fusion
not I, but unscorned, chosen: one
divine being—a son.


              Crows—their constant
beak-clicking, triple-beat squawks.

              My love as he sighs, stirs,
weighs a wrist or knee on me,

              then sinks back, coiled
into the thick flesh of sleep.

              The coffeemaker's chokes,
the garbage truck's brake-squeaks.
              Last night's sweet crumbs
of dried-out apricot pie.

              Then—light: how it creeps
down night's taut rope, lands,

              aslant, on the kitchen counter
to shellac two clementines

              shrinking in a chipped bowl.
I take note, write it down: crows' scorn,

              love's weight, street sounds—
tastes, colors, death, charms

              crammed into a fraction of dawn:
all of this—already gone.


I sit against the scarred trunk of an oak.
The sun barely winnows through its branches.

Beyond a lit spot small as a newborn's fist,
a twig quivers, then arcs toward light.

What caused such languid inclination
makes its way down the leaf: a tiny snail,

gold as corn. For an instant, they sway,
lit, in utter balance—then, in a deep bow,

the leaf releases its weight onto earth and curls
back into the shade—the vitreous path

of that moment now in its center. Mathieu,
if nature's cruelties know no limits,

neither do the boundaries of its grace.
I give thanks for you.


              What wouldn't
I do to have

              the kindest place
in yours.