poem index

ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers

ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Hunting Civil War Relics at Nimblewill Creek
James Dickey, 1923 - 1997
As he moves the mine detector
A few inches over the ground,
Making it vitally float
Among the ferns and weeds,
I come into this war
Slowly, with my one brother,
Watching his face grow deep
Between the earphones,
For I can tell
If we enter the buried battle
Of Nimblewill
Only by his expression.

Softly he wanders, parting
The grass with a dreaming hand.
No dead cry yet takes root
In his clapped ears
Or can be seen in his smile.
But underfoot I feel 
The dead regroup,
The burst metals all in place,
The battle lines be drawn
Anew to include us
In Nimblewill,
And I carry the shovel and pick

More as if they were
Bright weapons that I bore.
A bird's cry breaks 
In two, and into three parts.
We cross the creek; the cry
Shifts into another,
Nearer, bird, and is
Like the shout of a shadow—
Lived-with, appallingly close—
Or the soul, pronouncing
"Nimblewill":
Three tones; your being changes.

We climb the bank;
A faint light glows
On my brother's mouth.
I listen, as two birds fight
For a single voice, but he
Must be hearing the grave,
In pieces, all singing
To his clamped head,
For he smiles as if 
He rose from the dead within
Green Nimblewill
And stood in his grandson's shape.

No shot from the buried war
Shall kill me now,
For the dead have waited here
A hundred years to create
Only the look on the face
Of my one brother,
Who stands among them, offering
A metal dish
Afloat in the trembling weeds,
With a long-buried light on his lips
At Nimblewill
And the dead outsinging two birds.

I choke the handle
Of the pick, and fall to my knees
To dig wherever he points,
To bring up mess tin or bullet,
To go underground
Still singing, myself,
Without a sound,
Like a man who renounces war,
Or one who shall lift up the past,
Not breathing "Father,"
At Nimblewill,
But saying, "Fathers! Fathers!"
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Theories of Time and Space
Natasha Trethewey, 1966

You can get there from here, though
there’s no going home.

Everywhere you go will be somewhere
you’ve never been. Try this:

head south on Mississippi 49, one—
by—one mile markers ticking off

another minute of your life. Follow this
to its natural conclusion—dead end

at the coast, the pier at Gulfport where
riggings of shrimp boats are loose stitches

in a sky threatening rain. Cross over
the man-made beach, 26 miles of sand

dumped on a mangrove swamp—buried
terrain of the past. Bring only

what you must carry—tome of memory
its random blank pages. On the dock

where you board the boat for Ship Island,
someone will take your picture:

the photograph—who you were—
will be waiting when you return

ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Because You Asked about the Line Between Prose and Poetry
Howard Nemerov, 1920 - 1991
Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle
That while you watched turned to pieces of snow 
Riding a gradient invisible
From silver aslant to random, white, and slow.

There came a moment that you couldn’t tell.
And then they clearly flew instead of fell.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks
Jane Kenyon, 1947 - 1995
I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years. . . .

I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper. . . . 

When the young girl who starves
sits down to a table
she will sit beside me. . . . 

I am food on the prisoner's plate. . . . 

I am water rushing to the wellhead, 
filling the pitcher until it spills. . . . 

I am the patient gardener
of the dry and weedy garden. . . .

I am the stone step,
the latch, and the working hinge. . . . 

I am the heart contracted by joy. . .
the longest hair, white
before the rest. . . . 

I am there in the basket of fruit 
presented to the widow. . . .

I am the musk rose opening 
unattended, the fern on the boggy summit. . . . 

I am the one whose love
overcomes you, already with you
when you think to call my name. . . .
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Water Picture
May Swenson, 1913 - 1989
In the pond in the park 
all things are doubled:
Long buildings hang and 
wriggle gently. Chimneys 
are bent legs bouncing 
on clouds below. A flag 
wags like a fishhook 
down there in the sky.

The arched stone bridge 
is an eye, with underlid 
in the water. In its lens 
dip crinkled heads with hats 
that don't fall off. Dogs go by, 
barking on their backs. 
A baby, taken to feed the 
ducks, dangles upside-down, 
a pink balloon for a buoy.

Treetops deploy a haze of 
cherry bloom for roots, 
where birds coast belly-up 
in the glass bowl of a hill; 
from its bottom a bunch 
of peanut-munching children 
is suspended by their 
sneakers, waveringly.

A swan, with twin necks 
forming the figure 3, 
steers between two dimpled 
towers doubled. Fondly 
hissing, she kisses herself, 
and all the scene is troubled:
water-windows splinter, 
tree-limbs tangle, the bridge 
folds like a fan.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Wrap
Aimee Nezhukumatathil

I don't mean when a movie ends,
as in, it's a! Nor tortillas splitting
with the heavy wet of bean.
And I don't mean what you do

with your lavender robe all fluff
and socks to snatch the paper
from the shrubs. Nor the promise
of a gift, the curl and furl of red ribbon

just begging to be tugged. What I mean
is waiting with my grandmama (a pause
in the Monsoon) at the Trivandrum airport
for a jeep. Her small hand wraps

again the emerald green pallu of her sari
tucked in at her hips, across her breast, 
and coughs it up over her shoulder a hush
of paprika and burnt honey across my face.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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A Green Crab's Shell
Mark Doty, 1953
Not, exactly, green:
closer to bronze
preserved in kind brine,

something retrieved
from a Greco-Roman wreck,
patinated and oddly

muscular. We cannot
know what his fantastic
legs were like—

though evidence
suggests eight
complexly folded

scuttling works
of armament, crowned
by the foreclaws'

gesture of menace
and power. A gull's
gobbled the center,

leaving this chamber
—size of a demitasse—
open to reveal

a shocking, Giotto blue.
Though it smells
of seaweed and ruin,

this little traveling case
comes with such lavish lining!
Imagine breathing

surrounded by
the brilliant rinse
of summer's firmament.

What color is
the underside of skin?
Not so bad, to die,

if we could be opened
into this—
if the smallest chambers

of ourselves,
similarly,
revealed some sky.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Ground Swell
Mark Jarman, 1952
Is nothing real but when I was fifteen,
Going on sixteen, like a corny song?
I see myself so clearly then, and painfully--
Knees bleeding through my usher's uniform
Behind the candy counter in the theater
After a morning's surfing; paddling frantically
To top the brisk outsiders coming to wreck me,
Trundle me clumsily along the beach floor's
Gravel and sand; my knees aching with salt.
Is that all I have to write about?
You write about the life that's vividest.
And if that is your own, that is your subject.
And if the years before and after sixteen
Are colorless as salt and taste like sand--
Return to those remembered chilly mornings,
The light spreading like a great skin on the water,
And the blue water scalloped with wind-ridges,
And--what was it exactly?--that slow waiting
When, to invigorate yourself, you peed
Inside your bathing suit and felt the warmth
Crawl all around your hips and thighs,
And the first set rolled in and the water level
Rose in expectancy, and the sun struck
The water surface like a brassy palm,
Flat and gonglike, and the wave face formed.
Yes. But that was a summer so removed
In time, so specially peculiar to my life,
Why would I want to write about it again?
There was a day or two when, paddling out,
An older boy who had just graduated
And grown a great blonde moustache, like a walrus,
Skimmed past me like a smooth machine on the water,
And said my name. I was so much younger,
To be identified by one like him--
The easy deference of a kind of god
Who also went to church where I did--made me
Reconsider my worth. I had been noticed.
He soon was a small figure crossing waves,
The shawling crest surrounding him with spray,
Whiter than gull feathers. He had said my name
Without scorn, just with a bit of surprise
To notice me among those trying the big waves
Of the morning break. His name is carved now
On the black wall in Washington, the frozen wave
That grievers cross to find a name or names.
I knew him as I say I knew him, then,
Which wasn't very well. My father preached
His funeral. He came home in a bag
That may have mixed in pieces of his squad.
Yes, I can write about a lot of things
Besides the summer that I turned sixteen.
But that's my ground swell. I must start
Where things began to happen and I knew it.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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In Louisiana
Albert Bigelow Paine
The long, gray moss that softly swings
   In solemn grandeur from the trees,
   Like mournful funeral draperies,--
A brown-winged bird that never sings.

A shallow, stagnant, inland sea,
   Where rank swamp grasses wave, and where
   A deadliness lurks in the air,--
A sere leaf falling silently.

The death-like calm on every hand,
   That one might deem it sin to break,
   So pure, so perfect,--these things make
The mournful beauty of this land.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Fairbanks Under the Solstice
John Haines, 1924 - 2011
Slowly, without sun, the day sinks
toward the close of December.
It is minus sixty degrees.

Over the sleeping houses a dense
fog rises—smoke from banked fires,
and the snowy breath of an abyss
through which the cold town
is perceptibly falling.

As if Death were a voice made visible, 
with the power of illumination...

Now, in the white shadow
of those streets, ghostly newsboys
make their rounds, delivering 
to the homes of those
who have died of the frost
word of the resurrection of Silence.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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To You
Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892
Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of
   dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your 
   feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, 
   troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me,
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops, 
   work, farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating, 
   drinking, suffering, dying.

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you 
   be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear,
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better
   than you.

O I have been dilatory and dumb,
I should have made my way straight to you long ago, 
I should have blabb'd nothing but you, I should have chanted
   nothing but you.
   
I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you, 
None has understood you, but I understand you, 
None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to
   yourself,
None but has found you imperfect, I only find no
   imperfection in you,
None but would subordinate you, I only am he who will
   never consent to subordinate you,
I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better,
   God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself.
   
Painters have painted their swarming groups and the centre-
   figure of all,
From the head of the centre-figure spreading a nimbus of 
   gold-color'd light,
But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its 
   nimbus of gold-color'd light,
From my hand from the brain of every man and woman it
   streams, effulgently flowing forever.

O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you!
You have not known what you are, you have slumber'd upon
   yourself all your life,
Your eyelids have been the same as closed most of the time,
What you have done returns already in mockeries, 
(Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in
   mockeries, what is their return?)

The mockeries are not you,
Underneath them and within them I see you lurk,
I pursue you where none else has pursued you,
Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the 
   accustom'd routine, if these conceal you from others or
   from yourself, they do not conceal you from me,
The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if
   these balk others they do not balk me,
The pert apparel, the deform'd attitude, drunkenness, greed, 
   premature death, all these I part aside.

There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied 
   in you,
There is no virtue, no beauty in man or woman, but as good 
   is in you,
No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you,
No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits 
   for you.

As for me, I give nothing to any one except I give the like 
   carefully to you,
I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than
   I sing the songs of the glory of you.

Whoever you are! claim your own at an hazard! 
These shows of the East and West are tame compared to you, 
These immense meadows, these interminable rivers, you are
   immense and interminable as they,
These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of 
   apparent dissolution, you are he or she who is master or 
   mistress over them,
Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, 
   pain, passion, dissolution.

The hopples fall from your ankles, you find an unfailing 
   sufficiency,
Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest, 
   whatever you are promulges itself,
Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, 
   nothing is scanted,
Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what 
   you are picks its way.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Kitchen Maid with Supper at Emmaus, or The Mulata
Natasha Trethewey, 1966
—after the painting by Diego Velàzquez, ca. 1619
She is the vessels on the table before her:
the copper pot tipped toward us, the white pitcher
clutched in her hand, the black one edged in red
and upside down. Bent over, she is the mortar
and the pestle at rest in the mortar—still angled
in its posture of use. She is the stack of bowls
and the bulb of garlic beside it, the basket hung
by a nail on the wall and the white cloth bundled
in it, the rag in the foreground recalling her hand.
She's the stain on the wall the size of her shadow—
the color of blood, the shape of a thumb. She is echo
of Jesus at table, framed in the scene behind her:
his white corona, her white cap. Listening, she leans
into what she knows. Light falls on half her face.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Persephone the Wanderer
Louise Glück, 1943
In the first version, Persephone
is taken from her mother
and the goddess of the earth
punishes the earth—this is
consistent with what we know of human behavior,

that human beings take profound satisfaction
in doing harm, particularly
unconscious harm:

we may call this
negative creation.

Persephone's initial
sojourn in hell continues to be
pawed over by scholars who dispute
the sensations of the virgin:

did she cooperate in her rape,
or was she drugged, violated against her will,
as happens so often now to modern girls.

As is well known, the return of the beloved
does not correct
the loss of the beloved: Persephone

returns home
stained with red juice like
a character in Hawthorne—

I am not certain I will
keep this word: is earth
"home" to Persephone? Is she at home, conceivably,
in the bed of the god? Is she
at home nowhere? Is she
a born wanderer, in other words
an existential
replica of her own mother, less
hamstrung by ideas of causality?

You are allowed to like
no one, you know. The characters
are not people.
They are aspects of a dilemma or conflict.

Three parts: just as the soul is divided,
ego, superego, id. Likewise

the three levels of the known world,
a kind of diagram that separates
heaven from earth from hell.

You must ask yourself:
where is it snowing?

White of forgetfulness,
of desecration—

It is snowing on earth; the cold wind says

Persephone is having sex in hell.
Unlike the rest of us, she doesn't know
what winter is, only that
she is what causes it.

She is lying in the bed of Hades.
What is in her mind?
Is she afraid? Has something
blotted out the idea
of mind?

She does know the earth
is run by mothers, this much
is certain. She also knows
she is not what is called
a girl any longer. Regarding
incarceration, she believes

she has been a prisoner since she has been a daughter.

The terrible reunions in store for her
will take up the rest of her life.
When the passion for expiation
is chronic, fierce, you do not choose
the way you live. You do not live;
you are not allowed to die.

You drift between earth and death
which seem, finally,
strangely alike. Scholars tell us

that there is no point in knowing what you want
when the forces contending over you
could kill you.

White of forgetfulness,
white of safety—

They say
there is a rift in the human soul
which was not constructed to belong
entirely to life. Earth

asks us to deny this rift, a threat
disguised as suggestion—
as we have seen
in the tale of Persephone
which should be read

as an argument between the mother and the lover—
the daughter is just meat.

When death confronts her, she has never seen
the meadow without the daisies.
Suddenly she is no longer
singing her maidenly songs
about her mother's
beauty and fecundity. Where
the rift is, the break is.

Song of the earth,
song of the mythic vision of eternal life—

My soul
shattered with the strain
of trying to belong to earth—

What will you do,
when it is your turn in the field with the god?
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Part of Eve's Discussion
Marie Howe, 1950
It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your hand,
and flies, just before it flies, the moment the rivers seem to still
and stop because a storm is coming, but there is no storm, as when
a hundred starlings lift and bank together before they wheel and drop,
very much like the moment, driving on bad ice, when it occurs to you
your car could spin, just before it slowly begins to spin, like
the moment just before you forgot what it was you were about to say,
it was like that, and after that, it was still like that, only
all the time.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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from Crossing State Lines [Shirtsleeved afternoons]
Rita Dove, 1952
Shirtsleeved afternoons
turn toward leather as the trees
blush, scatter a last

few bright, weary wisps across
the great bruised heart of the South.

The spirit cup drifts
down the pond's moon-sparked highway.
Far laughter, shadows.

Love or poison? Your turn. Drink
to the star-drenched latitudes!
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Hovering at a Low Altitude
Dahlia Ravikovitch
I am not here.
I am on those craggy eastern hills
streaked with ice
where grass doesn't grow  
and a sweeping shadow overruns the slope.  	  
A little shepherd girl 
with a herd of goats,
black goats, 
emerges suddenly
from an unseen tent.				 
She won't live out the day, that girl,	 
in the pasture.     			 				  

I am not here.
Inside the gaping mouth of the mountain    	 
a red globe flares,	 					 
not yet a sun.
A lesion of frost, flushed and sickly,	 
revolves in that maw.		 

And the little one rose so early 
to go to the pasture.		 					 
She doesn't walk with neck outstretched   			 
and wanton glances.
She doesn't paint her eyes with kohl. 	  		 
She doesn't ask, Whence cometh my help.			 

I am not here.
I've been in the mountains many days now.
The light will not scorch me. The frost cannot touch me.		 
Nothing can amaze me now.
I've seen worse things in my life. 

I tuck my dress tight around my legs and hover
very close to the ground.
What ever was she thinking, that girl?			 
Wild to look at, unwashed.
For a moment she crouches down.
Her cheeks soft silk,					 
frostbite on the back of her hand.
She seems distracted, but no,
in fact she's alert.	 
She still has a few hours left.    			     
But that's hardly the object of my meditations.		 
My thoughts, soft as down, cushion me comfortably. 	   
I've found a very simple method,					 
not so much as a foot-breadth on land  	 			 
and not flying, either—			 
hovering at a low altitude. 

But as day tends toward noon,				 
many hours 
after sunrise,
that man makes his way up the mountain.	  
He looks innocent enough.			 
The girl is right there, near him, 			    
not another soul around. 
And if she runs for cover, or cries out—
there's no place to hide in the mountains.	   

I am not here.
I'm above those savage mountain ranges   	 
in the farthest reaches of the East.				 
No need to elaborate.
With a single hurling thrust one can hover    		 
and whirl about with the speed of the wind.  		 
Can make a getaway and persuade myself:		 	 
I haven't seen a thing.
And the little one, her eyes start from their sockets,			 
her palate is dry as a potsherd,		 		
when a hard hand grasps her hair, gripping her   	 
without a shred of pity.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Coastal Plain
Kathryn Stripling Byer

The only clouds
forming are crow clouds,

the only shade, oaks
bound together in a tangle of oak

limbs that signal the wind
coming, if there is any wind

stroking the flat
fields, the flat

swatch of corn.
Far as anyone’s eye can see, corn’s

dying under the sky
that repeats itself either as sky

or as water
that won’t remain water

for long on the highway: its shimmer
is merely the shimmer

of one more illusion that yields
to our crossing as we ourselves yield

to our lives, to the roots
of our landscape. Pull up the roots

and what do we see but the night
soil of dream, the night

soil of what we call
home. Home that calls

and calls
and calls.

ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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I shall forget you presently, my dear (Sonnet XI)
Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892 - 1950
I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And vows were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far,
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Piano
D. H. Lawrence, 1885 - 1930
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;   
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see   
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings   
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.   
   
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong   
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside   
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.   
   
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour   
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour 
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast   
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past. 
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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Help Me to Salt, Help Me to Sorrow
Judy Jordan
In the moon-fade and the sun’s puppy breath,
  in the crow’s plummeting cry,
in my broken foot and arthritic joints,
                                       memory calls me
to the earth’s opening, the graves dug, again, and again 
I, always I am left
                   to turn away
into a bat’s wing-brush of air.

That never changes . . .
  not this morning, not here

where I’ve just found
in the back of my truck, under the rubber mat, 
in a teacup’s worth of dirt, 
where it seems no seed could possibly be 
a corn kernel split to pale leaves and string-roots.

It’s a strange leap but I make it
and bend to these small harvests

because somewhere in North Carolina there was a house
  and in it, my room and my bed,
bare boards and the blood stains of a man
that in each slant rain’s worried whispers puddles to the cries of a slave, 
murdered in 1863 trying to escape.

Somewhere there was a child who slept
on the living room’s red-vinyl couch

who still matters

especially now that I can’t remember when the creek
  that bounded our family farm led to an ocean
or when a boxcar’s weather-wasted letters spelling Illinois
  meant somewhere there was an Illinois.

It’s still 1976--
the day after I’ve been seen playing tennis
  with a black boy, and it seems I will always
be held at gunpoint and beaten
as if the right punch would chunk out his name.

             --------

No, it’s 1969--
The year my mother becomes a wax paste, 
or so she looks to the child I was,

and she drips into the pink satin 
and I learned the funereal smell of carnations.
That year the moon was still made of green cheese. 
That year men first bagged and labeled that moon.

There are no years, only the past
and I still don’t know why Odell Horne 
  pulled a shotgun on my brother 
  or how the body contains so much blood.
I still don’t know why Donna Hill went to Myrtle Beach 
and three days later came back dead.

For ten years I lived with Louise Stegall,
the lover of my father, one of her four men, all buried--
  suicide, murder, drink, again murder.
It was after the second one that she sat stock still 
and silent, four years in the asylum.
Now she walks the road all day, 
picking up Cracker Jack trinkets 
  to give to children
                     brave enough to approach her.

When I was nine, the starling pecked outside her window  a whole week. 
Somebody’s gonna die, she said
and made me hug Uncle Robert’s neck 
as if I couldn’t know he’d be gone in two hours, 
as if I hadn’t learned anything about people
                                        and their vanishing.
The last time I saw her she wouldn’t look at me, 
  jerked her sweatshirt’s hood across 
her face and stepped into the ditch, 
as though there are some things even she won’t tell, 
as though I’ve never known it’s dirt and dust after all--
the earth’s sink and the worms’ castings.

                 --------

With the wet leaves thick on my steps,
the evening sky bruised dull gray to black,

when I’ve spilt salt and as the saying goes the sorrow and tears, 
and the stove is cold so salt won’t burn, 
tell me my pocket of charms can counter any spell.

Tell me again the reason for my grandfather’s fingers 
afloat in the Mason jar on the fireplace mantel 
between the snuff tin and the bowl of circus peanuts. 
What about the teeth in the dresser bureau,
the sliver of back bone I wear around my neck?

Again the washed-out photo in the family album, 
Pacific wind lifting the small waves onto Coral Beach,
clicking the palm trees’ fronds.
Again my father’s rakish grin,
  his bayonet catching a scratch of sun,
his left foot propped on the stripped and bloodied body.

                            Behind him, a stack of Japanese.

                  --------

Let me believe in anything.
Doesn’t the grizzled chicken dig up hoodoo hands?
Won’t the blue door frame, the basket of acorns protect me;
what about the knife in a pail of water?

When giving me the dead’s slippered feet
                                        room to room,
why not also synchronicity’s proof, 
  a wish and the tilted ears of angels?

I want to believe in the power of rosemary 
knuckled along the fence
even as the stars order themselves 
  to an unalterable and essential law.
I want the wind-whipped leaves to settle 
  and the flattened scrub to right itself,
want the loose tin in the neighbor’s shed
                                         to finish its message.

When this season in its scoured exactitude shifts closer, 
give me Devil’s Blue Boletus through the piled leaves, 
the slender green of Earth Tongue, 
phosphorescent Honey Tuft dispatched by the dead.

Their voices coming nearer, almost deciphered.

Whatever lies you have
there in that nail-clipping of time,
                                    give them to me.
ENG 201 A : Literature for Creative Writers
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A group of girls from Minnesota or black mascara
Maureen Owen

Not trees trace so             just kids we hung
slim buckets    of chokecherries from our wrists

in neighboring galaxies    Giant Star Factories take control
composed of cold hydrogen gas and dust

7,000             light years from earth
slender-toed geckos                   step onto the moon

On the road between 2 baptisms and a shower they rang
to say       shallow water          the mouths drop open

not where you stand but how long you can
stand standing there
in constant hypothesis

the trees are passersby
mercurial
damp light
flat orange moon
velvet navy-blue sky

fire berries
from here we see the beautifully attired drive tough Ford pickups

the oncoming
organizing principle
brushed out

the dancers take turns leaping over the bonfire       into
Qué pasa USA?

haircuts in London are really pretty backward
London—you are definitely not going to have a manicure there!
in LA toes must match the hands or else just don’t leave the house
in NY it’s more brunette

Outside       a refrigerator          floats       in the blackness shiny amid sharp stars

& the turtle who holds up the world          holds up
the world