“If there were a middle    ground between things and the soul

or if the sky resembled more the sea,
I wouldn’t have to scold.
my heavy daughter.”

Dream Song 385, John Berryman


Bonds of booze latched behind beveled wood

and glass.  All day, the window; the bare

ground hard as iron; the woods, still

stone crosses.  Strangely sentient, the un-

plugged telephone near the sleeping cat;

daughter drags in the latest cold from school,

mittening a paper collage of winter stars.

All night crystals dune at our door.


Morning, I get up from writing near the window

(the Christmas cactus flames) walk across

cold maple, slip on wool-lined boots and open

biting December.  Warmth from the house vapors

into God-rutted cornfields: ivory Sahara.

I trot pushing daughter on her sled, icing

a run.  I backfall into a drift, drunken with cold.



(from The Dryland Fish, 1st World, 2003)




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