Malaika King Albrecht Malaika King Albrecht

Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314

Malaika King Albrecht
What the Trapeze Artist Trusts
by Malaika King Albrecht

Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection

8.5 x 5.5 inches, 80 pages
ISBN 978-1-935708-54-4

Praise for What the Trapeze Artist Trusts
What the Trapeze Artist Trusts is a collection to read and read again, not just individual poems, but the whole book, because the book tells a story—a powerful story of love and loss and brokenness and healing—a passionate, moving story told through images of the sea, of shipwreck, and of the nurturing power of motherhood. ‘We are all wounded, trying / to stay awake, treading water,’ Malaika King Albrecht writes. Indeed, we are.” 

— Anthony S. Abbott, author of If Words Could Save Us

“Through Malaika King Albrecht's poems flow both the literal water she has lived alongside, its tides and currents rendered lovingly, and the metaphorical water that gathers up the things of this world, the way, as she says, ‘Menokin Bay can hold the image of the whole / sky and a single eagle.’ Her lines eddy, swell, and crest, leaving their images shining on the page, in the ear, waiting to be claimed by the searching imagination.” 

— Kathryn Stripling Byer, former North Carolina Poet Laureate
    and author of Descent

“Someone has said that the work of literature is to strip us of illusions, forcing us to face the starkness of reality. Similarly, Malaika King Albrecht writes ‘Seeing becomes a study / of loss in slow motion.’ In this collection, written in brilliantly vivid language and with searing honesty, she describes the results of such seeing: loss of expectations, of relationships, of a sense of self. But despite a litany of loss, this is not a cantata of despair; hope and grace flutter among the lines. Read this collection and you will never see the world—or yourself—the same way again.” 

— Sally Buckner, author of Nineteen Visions of Christmas

Malaika King Albrecht is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Lessons in Forgetting, and Spill. Her poems have won numerous awards and have been published in literary magazines and anthologies and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She’s the founding editor of Redheaded Stepchild, an online magazine that accepts only poems that have been rejected elsewhere.

Walking along the canal wall,
he and I don’t hold hands. 
Currents catch the sunset,
drag light toward ocean. 

The limbs of trees swim
the surface. Mullets jump
branches, and sheepsheads
thrash barnacles

to split them open. We sit.
He slips his hand into a velvet bag
and places one cold stone
between us, a Viking rune.

Who needs stone to say loss?
I know that night, one day
stronger, will fall on us.
I know I’m more lonely

than I’ve ever been alone.
Tonight, at a party, he’ll drink
vodka and toss more runes
to reveal another’s future.

I know the other woman’s body
will fill our bedroom, press
against my chest until I can
no longer breathe next to him.

Chasing glass lizards, earlier,
he caught only a tail that danced,
bodiless, in his hand.
When it stilled, he dropped it.

I say I’ve learned to read him;
what no longer moves for him,
doesn’t move him.
Because he’s heard, he’s quiet.

A crane lands across the canal,
ripples water whose concentric
circles will taste this wall. 
The present’s been unwanted 

as any truth. He says, 
Why predict the inevitable?
As he stands, I throw the stone
across water, and twice, it skips.​
Sample Poem