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Saturday, October 11, 2014


Monument                                                    Natasha Trethewey
Today the ants are busy
          beside my front steps, weaving
in and out of the hill they're building.
          I watch them emerge and—

like everything I've forgotten—disappear
          into the subterranean, a world
made by displacement. In the cemetery
          last June, I circled, lost—

weeds and grass grow up all around—
          the landscape blurred and waving.
At my mother's grave, ants streamed in
          and out like arteries, a tiny hill rising

above her untended plot. Bit by bit,
          red dirt piled up, spread
like a rash on the grass; I watched a long time
          the ants' determined work,

how they brought up soil
          of which she will be part,
and placed it before me. Believe me when I say
          I've tried not to begrudge them

their industry, this reminder of what
          I haven't done. Even now,
the mound is a blister on my heart,
          a red and humming swarm. 

Landscape                                                            Chad Sweeney

I subtract one color at a time
to arrive at green.

Green cardinal.
Green snow.

This green is excavated rather than built.
Looking you begin to feel

what culture feels when exposed

to time---
a pit

in the air, a climbing up to
no altar.

The clover,
the teeth of the horses,


Green burns in the green cloud.

Lightfall             Pamela Alexander

All the light was north, snow on skylights,
the year I lived in the painter's studio.

Scrub forest behind the dunes, a litter
of deer tracks and shotgun shells.
I tied an orange bandanna around
the husky's neck.


I knew the dark place was wrong. I walked the letters
of my name, which I did not recognize spoken.
Low corridors. 

Me. Her. The I
I could not find.

All the trees had fallen the same way
in the storm. A landscape pointing.

Anyone could happen like that.


The husky ate a bee
out of the air, snapped herself shut
on compound eyes, wing-blur, button
of darkness and buzz.


A rabbit streaked from under my feet.
Its nest fit my loose fist.
A cup of winter grass, still warm.

Home is the first everywhere,
the place we go out from.


The bee flew lower. Pollen graining its legs
drizzled onto linoleum shine. The room

was a different color for each of us. My shadow
bright blue-green in bee sight.

How could it not recognize the window
colored open?


I longed to be among trees. They wavered
beyond glass, beyond wire. They could not
be changed into words. They could not be changed
into anything. Even a camera couldn't see
the thick air around them, how it carried
sounds whole like water does,
how it supported slow birds.


Bee against pane, translucency
of wings. Centuries flew
against the glass. Then we found
the larger place: earth, that blue ark
afloat in the wilderness of space.

We cannot count ourselves out.


How beautiful it was
before we knew. How sweet how

A faint music falls from the stars

no it does not.


Set Theory                                                 by James Mc Corkle

Number following number,
Neatly described, heart’s plunder
Or loss, following,
                                that old saw, again and again,
And the route taken always is the shortest
Between two points,
                                   between what must be
And that lapsing cloud, a continental
Dimming, and then stillness,
                                                 and always the afterward,
Trying to place it, a landscape, verdigris,
Cerulean, lightened azure,
                                             indigo the deepest point,
The sky beginning to open, if
We could see them, stars ascending
Serially, marking
                              time’s season,
Boolean sets, you then not-you,
                                                       and that
Graphed line between, thin veil,
Memory lifted, lifting
                                     over the garden’s trees
An equation of synapses,
                                           but now just that—

Before the beginning of darkness
Settling on
                   the leaves of hawthorns,
Carnelian fruit, neither
Loss nor gain, but that astonishment
You are here, between
This and what is
                             fired—cinnabar to cadmium—and gone.


Landscape is the culture that contains all human culture.  Barry Lopez


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