878 Readings





Red haw       hog apple       much-branched

shrubs and small trees       we

discovered a row of old theatre seats       red velvet

and smoked       and followed all day       through binoculars       birds

that shone like earrings.      



was the cinematic       effect

we loaded those seats up       cursing

and dragging delivered them slantwise

                                                                onto the porch.





She might

in her sleeve-

less white



wake up

with it


to her arm



That egg


My sister


she grew


to sleep

by me

I bled

too much

She pictured

an egg

the size

of a pearl


she loved

me I

was still


my night-




on your





I grew lilies from scales       knew whip and tongue graft       grew my mother’s       touch-me-not       from seed that flew       at Old Man’s Creek       when capsules brushed       sit here she’d say       and watch the leaves     we watched her comb     she      was a woman      nothing       my father said       the entire history of beauty       could have prepared him for     sit here       it       was supposed to be       the Leonid Meteors the night       a neighbor dog      ate our spike-tailed kittens       that had just got their sea legs       and it snowed       in October


The stars did not depart       for which we’d lugged that       relic home       the ferns turned blue       in a shell of ice       the last wild roses held one note       I found that dog where he’d tried to claw out       after he’d been buried       after he’d been shot       a thickness of grit       on his wildering eyes       where he tried to claw out where snowbells grew          and the worst untruth       that had ever been told       was the one about goodness       directing the earth


But       we spoke of the killing frost       and a silver thaw took the tops off the fir trees.


Posted 07/14/11
from Granta (100: Winter 2007)
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