poem index


John Balaban

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John Balaban is the author of several books of poetry, including Path, Crooked Path (Copper Canyon Press, 2006); Locusts at the Edge of Summer: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 1997), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award; and Words for My Daughter (Copper Canyon Press, 1991), winner of the National Poetry Series. He is also the recipient of the Lamont Poetry Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in North Carolina.

by this poet

The stream runs clear to its stones;
the fish swim in sharp outline.
Girl, turn your face for me to draw.
Tomorrow, if we should drift apart,
I shall find you by this picture.
At dusk, by the irrigation ditch
gurgling past backyards near the highway,
locusts raise a maze of calls in cottonwoods.

A Spanish girl in a white party dress
strolls the levee by the muddy water
where her small sister plunks in stones.

Beyond a low adobe wall and a wrecked car
men are pitching horseshoes in a

Hadn’t seen Eddie for some time,
wheeling his chair through traffic,
skinny legs in shorts, T-shirted,
down at the corner off Dixie Highway,
lifting his Coke cup to the drivers
backed up, bumper to bumper, at the light.
Sometimes he slept on the concrete bench
up from Joe’s News.