Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily: Three Poems by Vickie Cimprich, Lynn Robbins & Vince Broerman

Our human tendency to ascribe human qualities to non-human beings is sometimes called in poetry the “pathetic fallacy.” While I don’t agree that it’s always so “pathetic” to do so, what interests me in these three poems—by Vickie Cimprich of Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky; by Lynn Robbins of Cold Spring, Kentucky; and by Vince Broerman of Symmes Township—is how humans instead embody the animal.

Weather Report

By bedtime the storm left us no lights
but old candles in shot glasses.

The ridges again shown dark
out the bedroom windows,
acquitted pro tem
of Columbia Sussex’s megawatted stories
hanging in the branches
like a fancy girl’s shimmy.

The children of wolves
never born in Kentucky
on account of D. Boone and his tribes
came panting up our ravine
through the wuthering trees.

So we settled in and
took hold again of our two selves
as if they were pelts.

Vickie Cimprich


If I Could Keep My Eyes Open

The doe and I meet eye-to-eye blinkless
in the yard and hold each other there,
across the green, still, except for
four wide eyes glistening,
two hearts pounding, wind
wrapping around our ears.

Then I blink—I admit
I know better, but I blink
and the deer turns, bolts,
her bad back leg hanging useless,
though she bounds off fast enough
on three, soon safe in the shadows.

I turn then, too, to run away,
dragging my own old injuries
and infirmities behind me,
never feeling quite fast enough
or safe enough to stand firm,
unblinking in the face of joy.

Lynn Robbins
“If I Could Keep My Eyes Open” is included in Two Plus Two Is Fear: How anxiety stole a voice and poetry gave it back (2017), a memoir.


Mating, In the Wild

Alone, he searched.

Tucked under rounded shoulders and upturned collar,
he shuffled, like a bear,
over slab after slab of icy gray concrete.

What he saw: Wooden people, of the shops, with wide, unblinking eyes, frozen in time. There were hundreds and hundreds of hurried ones, too, each, rushing, like a river, through the same canyon. Then, there were the scriers, who blocked the paths, like unmoving boulders frothing the waters, gazing at their creations, yet unable to see.

He stopped, to rest
his worn, tired soles.
He sat on an old slatted bench.

What he noticed: Not one single person, whether wooden, plastic or stone ever saw. Their reflection, in the ribbons of bright plated glass, shined; and, overhead, in the distance, there was a sign, on which a message had been written, not which he bothered to read.

Always the same,
the promise. What he sought would be found
around the next corner.

He tightened his red silk scarf,
stepped off the curb, and,
like a salmon,
he swam upstream.

Vince Broerman

Join us for the Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily Project Reading on Wednesday, April 26, 7 pm at People’s Liberty, 1805 Elm Street, Over the Rhine


Author: Pauletta Hansel

Pauletta Hansel is a poet, memorist, teacher and editor. She was Cincinnati's first Poet Laureate from April 2-16-March 2018. Pauletta is author of six poetry collections, Plaindrome (Dos Madres Press, 2017; winner of the 2017 Weatherford Award), Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015), The Lives We Live in Houses (Wind Publications, 2011), What I Did There (Dos Madres Press, 2011), First Person (Dos Madres Press, 2007) and Divining (WovenWord Press, 2002). Her poetry has been featured recently in journals including Talisman, Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Appalachian Journal, Atlanta Review, Postcards Poems and Prose and Still: The Journal, and anthologized in Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia; Motif: Come What May; and Motif: All the Livelong Day. Pauletta leads community poetry workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond, and has served as Writer-in Residence at Thomas More College in her native Kentucky. She is a co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

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