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Wyatt Prunty



For weeks he's tunneled his intricate need
Through the root-rich, fibrous, mineral dark,
Buckling up in zagged illegibles
The cuneiforms and cursives of a blind scribe.

Sleeved by soft earth, a slow reach knuckling,
Small tributaries open from his nudge
Mild immigrant, bland isolationist,
Berm builder edging the runneling world.

But now the snow, and he's gone quietly deep,
Nuzzling through a muzzy neighborhood
Of dead-end-street, abandoned cul-de-sac,
And boltrun from a dead-leaf, roundhouse burrow.

May he emerge four months from this as before,
Myopic master of the possible,
Wise one who understands prudential ground,
Revisionist of all things green;

So when he surfaces, lumplike, bashful,
Quizzical as the flashbulb blind who wait
For color to return, he'll nose our green-
rich air with the imperative poise of now.


Furrowed as the heaviest brow yet plain
As our forgetfulness, they are unmoved
By change, the way all origins lie stilled
By what they start. Long genealogies
Of fields rest in courthouse records
But lack what came before, generations
Nameless and permanent as need.

Rain, and the broadest reaches go under;
Drought, and they are dust. But always these remain.
To die down to stubble, to disappear,
Then rise from dark into the leaf-long change
Of new life this carries more than reason
Gathers in its mirrors, as being fertile
After freezing cold or swallowing flood
Bears more than powers know to plant.


        -Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small group of birds,one might fancy

that from an original paucity one species had been taken and modified for different ends. 

-The Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin

But for the one marooned all limits have
Reversed so now the ocean's hourglass
Washes sand from underfoot wave after wave
And days elide and word may never pass

Over that fixed horizon of great risk.
The signal fires burn out; bottles drift back.
In time, the lost forget that which they miss,
As all the imitations that they make

Of civilized survival fail, unnoticed
Under the blank domes of day following day.
And this is how identity's erased,
Not in the violent wreck but in the way

Time runs without exception or an end,
Limitless to exhume the days from years,
As though return were how the world begins
And this one doesn't ever, all those fears

One carries into sleep vivid for dark
And the contrast of waking memory
Now told, Forget . . . like island birds whose marks
Reduplicate their mainland history

But never going back go on withal.
That is the order of it, the going through,
That double mind, and nothing in the all-
continuing but what you see from you,

Horizon round, blank-staring blue,
Ocean and sky and you wondering why
Such things happen. They simply do,
So next time someone new will wave goodbye,

Isolate species, with no ship coming round
Yet of those changeful birds blown in by storms,
Frail colonials agreed to common ground,
They fly freely, and by surprising forms.

                                 -from The Lover's Guide to Trapping

Listen to Mr. Prunty read a poem at Slate.com


Kim Addonizio 03-14-08

Agha Shahid Ali 09-14-07

Alice Anderson 11-16-08

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

Brian Brodeur 03-29-09

Michelle Boisseau 09-20-2010

Anne Caston 09-24-09

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

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

Nick Flynn 10-04-2010

Carolyn Forche 09-21-07

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

Elizabeth Hadaway 06-15-07

Donald Hall 02-10-07

Jeff Hardin 08-10-07

Brooks Haxton 03-08-10

Seamus Heaney 09-11-09

Jamey Hecht 12-05-2010

Dennis Hinrichsen 11-02-07

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

Brigit Pegeen Kelly 10-12-08

Jane Kenyon 04-01-07

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

Sandy Longhorn 04-26-08

Corey Marks 10-03-07

Adrian Matejka 04-18-08

Davis McCombs 01-18-08

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

Donald Platt 02-15-08

Joshua Poteat 11-3-09

Wyatt Prunty 02-20-2011

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

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 11-30-07

Gary Soto 03-23-07

Mark Sullivan 08-28-09

Frank Stanford 10-25-2010

Mark Strand 02-22-2010

Mark Svenvold 03-23-09
Brian Turner 05-13-07

Joshua Vinzant 01-30-2011

Tribute to Virginia Tech 04-24-07

Charles Harper Webb 10-12-07

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