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Bruce Beasley

11-22-08

Autumn 

It’s like waking up with someone else’s

loneliness;

 

the hills shoring themselves against the dusk,

 

a thin ice hinging on the lake’s edge.

 

Shades

            -for David

 

1.

 

I can almost remember

the months we lay

huddled up together in the womb,

 

and the hospital

on Hemlock Street,

where we incubated,

four pounds each;

 

I can still almost feel

our father’s

strength, as he lifted us,

one in each hand,

 

and call back the smell

of bleached sheets

on the wind through our window,

 

and the crabapples

crushed on our street…

 

I can see us

on Easter, acting

grown-up, chrysanthemums

pinned to our lapels, Vitalis

 

slicked on our hair,

as we crooned with the hymn

Were you there

When they nailed Him to the cross…

 

And I can still see the Siamese twins

in the Guinness Book of World Records,

merged at the waist, each

 

waving:

we’d lie on the floor, hip to hip,

and look at the picture ands giggle.

 

2.

 

We walked to school each morning,

identically dressed, living

the same life,

the temporary

gravity of childhood holding us;

 

each day in school the earth

rolled, lopsided

and cold, on its globe, and each

 

summer our grandfather cut

white slabs of apple from his tree, or poured

gold from a knotted sock

buried in his drawer;

 

each morning our mother gathered

white slugs from her garden,

drowned

in half-buried cups of beer,

 

and each night we sat

on the corner, barefoot

and bug-bitten, talking,

 

waiting for the streetlight to come on.

 

3.

 

I dreamed our bedroom window

cracked, letting the air

leak out, and you

 

were gone; your bed

perfectly made, the closet

vacant…

 

I woke up and walked through the room

as if it were empty.

And sat at our old desk, lay

my head on the cold glass,

 

my hand on the wood,

saw the window

wrapped in dark curtains

 

and felt the air

filling the room again,

so damp this time, so cold.

 

4.

 

In the zodiac, the Twins

move together through the heavens,

immutably

 

joined…

 

A hundred miles away from me,

your daughter

is learning the thrill

of denial,

 

tottering away from you

crying

no no no no…

 

She’ll never be part

of another

child, grafted

with a sister, safe like that,

 

or halved;

we carried on conversations

in our sleep, I’m told,

nonsense to nonsense

 

in our cribs,

holding

ourselves together, figuring

childhood out.

 

5.

 

The winter of 1958

vanishes again,

your face

through the bars of the twin

 

crib vanishes again;

the photograph

of the two of us on horseback

in cowboy boots and chaps

 

fades

back into white again…

 

I can hardly

see us now, adult,

deliberately

whole,

 

with our painted mailboxes,

our perfect lawns

wrapped around the dead

ends of the street…

 

There’s always an absence,

a secret

sadness we carry with us,

kept in two

 

bodies, like shades

of one shadow, stricken

out of the light.

 

Benediction

-In olden times, when wishing still helped…

         -Grimms Fairly Tales

 

Let the dead stars

fume and burn,

wherever they are.

Let the raw

color of carnations

survive,

white against red.

Let the funeral home

by the Farmer’s Market

go on with its planting

and burying,

its hanging flowers

shrouding the wooden porch.

Let the impatiens and morning glories

always surround the hearses.

Let the children go on wishing

on the stars’

borrowed light, even when

it won’t help, when the moon

is spare, three-quarters black,

lodged

at the night’s rim

like a mote in the eye.

Even when the sky

is dull with stars, when they’ve all

sputtered out, one by one,

and kept

burning…

Let us still

see them.  Let us

believe there is someone

when we mourn or pray

who will listen,

who will bend down.

 

          -from Spirituals



Biography - Interview - Essay

 

Archive


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

  

C. G. Hanzlicek 04-23-2012

 

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