Trio House Press
Publishing distinct voices in American poetry

Gold Passage by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Winner of the 2012 Trio Award, selected by Ross Gay

Iris Jamahl Dunkle's debut poetry collection, Gold Passage was selected by Ross Gay for the 2012 Trio Award. Her chapbook, Inheritance, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2010, and her second full-length collection, There's A Ghost in this Machine of Air, was released in 2016 by WordTech Editions. Dunkle currently teaches writing at Napa Valley College and with California Poets in the Schools (CPITS). In addition, she is the new poet laureate of Sonoma County, California. Of note, her poem “How to Cope in a New Landscape” was a finalist for the The New Guard’s Knightville Poetry Contest and her poem “The Trick of Sound” was a finalist for the Yalobusha Review’s Yellowwood Poetry Prize. Her poetry, creative nonfiction, and scholarly articles have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous publications including: Poet’s Market 2013, Crab Orchard Review, Fence, LinQ, VOLT, The Mom Egg, Sentence, Weave, Verse Wisconsin, Boxcar Poetry Review, The Squaw Valley Writers Review, Sugar House Review, Inter|rupture and Talking WritingDunkle received her B.A. from the George Washington University, her M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University, and her Ph.D. in American Literature from Case Western Reserve University. She is on the staff of the Napa Valley Writers conference and currently resides with her family in Northern California. 

Cormorant

Morning, and I walk past the man-made lake
where the bird gulls for light—I am just birthed
from Thor’s flash and spite—the bright white thorn of
knobbed sleep and the throb of light a risk of
life          I feel important—survived
a part of the whole force that pulses past
 

but the dumb sea bird doesn’t stir, just stays
erect as a piece of the alphabet
waiting to burn clean its wings.


Under a blue-cloud-bespeckled sky
under the blue domed egg
 

who wouldn’t expect flight?


How small am I.

Previously published in Fence, Fall/Winter 2000-2001.
Cormorant

Morning, and I walk past the man-made lake
where the bird gulls for light—I am just birthed
from Thor’s flash and spite—the bright white thorn of
knobbed sleep and the throb of light a risk of
life          I feel important—survived
a part of the whole force that pulses past
 

but the dumb sea bird doesn’t stir, just stays
erect as a piece of the alphabet
waiting to burn clean its wings.


Under a blue-cloud-bespeckled sky
under the blue domed egg
 

who wouldn’t expect flight?


How small am I.

Previously published in Fence, Fall/Winter 2000-2001.
Cormorant

Morning, and I walk past the man-made lake
where the bird gulls for light—I am just birthed
from Thor’s flash and spite—the bright white thorn of
knobbed sleep and the throb of light a risk of
life          I feel important—survived
a part of the whole force that pulses past
 

but the dumb sea bird doesn’t stir, just stays
erect as a piece of the alphabet
waiting to burn clean its wings.


Under a blue-cloud-bespeckled sky
under the blue domed egg
 

who wouldn’t expect flight?


How small am I.

Previously published in Fence, Fall/Winter 2000-2001.