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Betsy Mars – Providence

Mars profile Dec 2020

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume One, December 2020.

Betsy Mars is a poet, photographer, and occasional publisher. She founded Kingly Street Press and released her first anthology, Unsheathed: 24 Contemporary Poets Take Up the Knife, in October 2019. Her work has recently appeared in Verse Virtual, San Pedro River Review, Kissing Dynamite, and Better Than Starbucks. Her chapbook, Alinea, was published in January 2019. In the Muddle of the Night, with Alan Walowitz, is coming soon from Arroyo Seco Press. Her poem, Pyriscence, won one of the Alexandria Quarterly First Line Poetry Contest Series awards in 2020. She is grateful for having had the experience of living in Brazil as a child which exposed her to another culture and language at an early age. She is an avid traveler (when possible), language learner, logophile, and animal enthusiast.


I want to live where it’s possible
to have a doe lay down her fawn
in a pile of violets and cedar
upon my lawn, with bird song
to lull since I can’t sing – to be
the bird (or even the fawn),
the doe out searching when milk
is scant, the rabbits tumbling
in the field, the woman who mows
and walks the labyrinth – or even
the labyrinth itself, pilgrims
mumbling, quiet path of meditation
laid out for work, a different kind
of use than this daily wearing,
feeling tread upon, a kind
of searing self-abuse. I want
to live in fields of violet, lie down
in the temple of the twilight.

From a Dream of Drowning Children

Everywhere the I submerged
there were two of them
a boy and girl, eyes pleading
reflected in spoons
or the surface of lagoons
the wait, for me, endless
their lashes wet
so long and bright.

Red Flag Winds

For CK

Charles returns on a gust through an open window.
In my room curtains billow, blinds lift,
paintings hung on nails shift as air comes in.
In the night, the house shakes
with what could be a foreshock.
A door slams as the house seeks equilibrium.
As I settle back into sleep, he laughs,
his mouth full of air again.
We find each other in the hall.
There is no aftershock
as we grapple with our luck,
the wild joy of it all.

© Betsy Mars