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Sandy Longhorn




Summer of the Bicentennial— shiny new quarters,

diesel fumes and Swisher Sweets, Daddy's hand


on the tall gear shift of his snub-nosed Freightliner,

weeks on the road with nothing but the radio,


his coming home a ritual of air horn and hissing brakes.

One weekend he taught us the ways of the river,


how to force up the dead with the cast of a grappling hook

and a pair of muscled arms.  Night's I dreamed


that the great blue heron folded her wings and entered

the water like a stone, like the woman who jumped


from the bridge a mile upriver— her blue dress surfacing

the same shade as our mother's, the river mending the hole


they made, water glinting like the surface of a coin,

air shimmering with dragonflies and Daddy's thin blue smoke.


On The Great Plains' Eastern Edge


People here don't dream of falling, but the opposite

of falling— of drying up and being blown


across the far-flung horizon during months of drought

when topsoil embeds itself in every surface—


sheets hung on the line to dry, shut eyelids,

hair up in a braid, firmly clamped lips—


when even good roots can't hold and there's no water

left in the well to wash it all clean.  Every year


when the twisters come there's a new story

about your grandmother's neighbor pulled from sleep


and shaken like a tablecloth before being dropped

in the family plot to rest beside her husband,


dead these twenty years, or the minister and his wife plucked

from the closet where they huddled clutching the Bible


and each other and set down without a scratch

in the yard, not even a ripped page to show for it.


When the rains do come, by God's own grace

and after a dozen farmers are dead from self-inflicted


gunshot wounds or a noose swung over the hayloft's beam,

those who remain dream of the swelling up, the washing


away and slow drowning— a different kind of falling.

Our bloated bodies come to rest in the muck


of gray-green lakes.  The silt makes room,

shifts in the gloom and the bluegills come, curious,


the pike, resilient, to nibble at cotton fibers,

spitting out buttons and clasp to get at the heavy, rotting flesh.


Lover, Say Prairie


Say prairie and mean an underground sea

watering the roots of tall grasses that sway

like the thin bodies of girls dressed in sackcloth.

Mean the sharp angles of sodbusting plows

that mirror the men who guide them, whittled down

by work, weather, and wind, men down to sinew

and sweat, down to the stunning silence.


Say prairie and mean the song of the canary,

caged to accompany the lone woman

in her house made of dirt and sod, the one

window, a warped portal looking out on the flat

horizon, miles and miles until the sky weds the land,

a hazy, indistinct joining, the way their two bodies

meet under a quilt in the insect-loud night.


              -from Blood Almanac



Kim Addonizio 03-14-08


Agha Shahid Ali 09-14-07


Alice Anderson 11-16-08


Renee Ashley 04-10-2010


Christianne Balk 07-27-07


Brian Barker 07-07-07


Polina Barskova 09-13-2010


Bruce Beasley 11-22-08


Nicky Beer 09-06-2010


Nicky Beer 08-22-08


Nathaniel Bellows 04-27-09


Ciaran Berry 01-25-09


Linda Bierds 08-31-07


Kristin Bock 08-17-09


Bruce Bond 02-18-2012


John Bradley 03-12-2012


Brian Brodeur 03-29-09


Michelle Boisseau 09-20-2010 


Sophie Cabot Black 03-26-2012


Anne Caston 09-24-09


Anne Caston 02-27-2011


Elizabeth Biller Chapman 01-25-08


Nicole Cooley 04-05-09


Stephen Cramer 02-14-2011


Nicole Cuddeback 03-07-08


Steve Davenport 03-29-2010


Cortney Davis 05-03-09


Todd Davis 11-01-2010


James Dickey 03-12-2012


Stephen Dobyns 02-26-2012


Elizabeth Dodd 09-05-08


Karen Donovan 04-15-07


Mark Doty 04-11-08


Stephen Dunn 11-09-02010


Lynn Emanuel 08-30-2010


Lynnell Edwards 11-22-2010


B. H. Fairchild  09-04-09


Elyse Fenton 04-25-2011


Nick Flynn 01-28-2012


Nick Flynn 10-04-2010


Rachel Contreni Flynn 04-10-2011


Carolyn Forche 09-21-07


Carrie Fountain 03-21-2011


James Galvin 02-23-07


Margaret Gibson 01-24-10


Mary Jo Firth Gillett 02-22-08


Dana Gioia 08-23-2010


Eugene Gloria 09-20-08


Louise Gluck 03-17-2010


Kevin Goodan 08-29-08


Matthew Graham 11-28-2010


Robert Grunst 11-16-07


Bruce Guernsey 9-13-2011


Elizabeth Hadaway 06-15-07


John Haines 11-01-2011


Donald Hall 02-10-07


Sarah Hannah 11-25-2011


Jeff Hardin 08-10-07


Elizabeth Haukaas 09-13-2011


Brooks Haxton 03-08-10


Seamus Heaney 09-11-09


Jamey Hecht 12-05-2010


Bob Hicok 10-25-2011



Andrew Hudgins 11-21-09


Lynda Hull 05-20-07


Henry Israeli 01-23-2011


Major Jackson 05-02-2010


Mark Jarman 10-19-08


Rodney Jones 10-26-09


Barbara Jordan 02-02-09


Ilya Kaminsky 11-18-2011


Daniel Khalastchi 8-30-2011


Brigit Pegeen Kelly 10-12-08


Jane Kenyon 04-01-07


Suji Kwock Kim 11-09-2011

 James Kimbrell 04-07-2010

James Kimbrell 01-19-07


Galway Kinnell 11-09-07


Yusef Komunyakaa 07-15-07


Phil Levine 06-03-07


Eleanor Lerman 11-02-08


Larry Levis 04-04-08


Larry Levis 02-08-2010


Lisa Lewis 02-11-2012


Sandy Longhorn 04-26-08


Corey Marks 10-03-07


Adrian Matejka 04-18-08


Davis McCombs 01-18-08


Jeffrey McDaniel 10-08-2011


Michael McGriff 02-22-09


Jay Meek 01-16-2010


Anne Michaels 01-18-09


Nils Michals 02-29-08


Keith Montesano 12-12-2010


Malena Morling 05-12-08


Simone Muench 02-08-08


Sharon Olds 02-22-07


Sharon Olds 10-19-07


Michael Ondaatje 02-01-2010


Eric Pankey 09-07-07


Gregory Pardlo 06-22-07


Ed Pavlic 09-28-07


Oliver de la Paz 02-15-2010


Lucia Perillo 12-04-09


Catherine Pierce 04-18-2011


Jon Pineda 04-09-2012


Donald Platt 02-15-08


Joshua Poteat 03-13-2011


Joshua Poteat 11-3-09


Wyatt Prunty 02-20-2011


Dean Rader 03-07-2011


Amy Randolph 03-01-09


Robert Randolph 12-12-09


Adrienne Rich 04-20-2010


Joshua Robbins 11-16-2010


David Roderick 12-07-07


Bobby C. Rogers 02-04-2012


Pattiann Rogers 3-21-08

 Steve Scafidi 10-09-09


Jim Schley 10-19-09


Tim Seibles 10-08-07


David Shumate 10-26-08


Dave Smith 04-10-09 


Katherine Soniat 01-21-2012


Katherine Soniat 11-30-07


Gary Soto 03-23-07


Mark Sullivan 08-28-09


Mathias Svalina 04-02-2012

Frank Stanford 10-25-2010

Mark Strand 02-22-2010


Mark Svenvold 03-23-09


Robert Thomas 05-03-2011


Brian Turner 05-13-07


Joshua Vinzant 01-30-2011


Tribute to Virginia Tech 04-24-07


Connie Voisine 10-1-2011


Charles Harper Webb 10-12-07


David Wevill 03-27-2011


C.K. Williams 05-25-07


Susan B.A. Somers-Willett 06-29-07


Charles Wright 01-27-07


Robert Wrigley 10-11-2010


Robert Wrigley 08-17-07


Robert Wrigley 04-09-07


Robert Wrigley 02-03-07