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Family History

My mother digs up graves—
Revolutionary War era

whalers who doubled as spies
and outfoxed the British.

A consumptive farmer who wrote:
This year last we threshed hay.

Always she demands stories
her mother doesn’t care to tell.

Words surface …

What Is Real

(after Stanley Moss)

If someone else is kissing you, death is real.
I want no others to know your mouth,
its clever tongue
traveling across my topography
the island of my moxie.

If someone else is kissing you,

then let …

Mortgage Crisis

In the green distance, bank notes
bud from sycamore bough.

Executives trample the meadows
and switchgrass, unable to arrive.

To the west, their fathers re-shingle,
fix pocketwatches.

The executives sell their fathers’
farms to purchase a mile of faraway grove.…

Going Out

Seen outside,
sky’s still white,
but flocculent with cloud
blurs, calming to those
who have stopped
lifting binoculars
to witness cliffs
being scaled sidelong
by ruddy mountaineers;
stopped checking
the newspaper’s contract
bridge advice; absorbing diagrams
of various crashes; reacting…


how soon
it is winter again.
these days
that try to fool us with their heat
cannot last long,
cannot convince us
of any other season but this:
rosebuds, puckered like sweetest mouths,
the chinese talla,
letting go its autumn …

Ode to Ignorance

The museum guide says, “This statue is from Delphi.”
and a woman in our group says, “Yes, where they make
the china,” and the guide says, “Actually, you’re thinking
of Delft, not Delphi, which is somewhat to the north—