Thursday, March 06, 2008

As promised

Today's mail brought Betsy Wheeler's Start Here, a gorgeously produced chaplet from Small Anchor Press with a very nice letterpressed cover designed by Lindsay Valentin. I've been waiting for this one . . . it's a single long poem; Betsy read several passages from it at her Bucknell reading last year and it really knocked me out. I read the whole thing in one breathless sitting. Go buy this chaplet; it's already half-sold-out.

* * *

I promised Arlene I'd post this poem. It first appeared in Florida Review in 2005:


There are worse reasons to be caught
at midnight in my neighbor’s yard,
though I can’t think of any. Right
now, arrested mid-reach by the hard

twin headlight beams of her Pontiac,
I fish for a quick excuse. Perhaps
I’ve lost my watch? There’s a knack
to lying; I don’t have it. (Theft,

however, I’ve down pat.) Pockets
stuffed with rattling pods, I stand
unaccused. Virginia’s car groans past.
I’m off the hook; the old gal’s night blind.

Her daylilies surround me: past
their prime, hardly a bloom remains.
In the dark, I snitch the last
ripe pod: shiny seeds, obsidian

black, spill from its flared open end.
They’ll keep three months in my freezer,
sprout grass-thin blades in deep winter
under lights I’ve rigged in my cellar.

Three years, maybe four will pass
before they’re large enough to bloom.
I’ll give the lion’s share away,
persuade Virginia to make room.

[photo: tawny daylily, 2007]

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