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Genevieve Kaplan

But in that time the world had changed

  *Listen to Genevieve read this poem.

 

The rivers dammed

and throated birds

sunning themselves

on balconies, when no one

arrives, among flung boulders

and high porches, when birds

take off for flight and land

upon return. If a deer is spotted, too

in the forest

as loss of the narrow trail ended in creek

rather than high upon

some ridge.

In the dusk, finding

insight in the forest

and dripping in sap

and making oneself tinder

practically, ready to spark—

when the creek runs dry and deer spree past and birds, too, swallow the forest whole¹ —

There is no noise

and the road never turns

but follows the long

valley, an accidental cusp here

and there scattered

with cabins, the scent

of making-merry

littering the ground. O

to be able and healthy

in one of those balconies.

 

 

¹ In their need to escape it.

 

*

 

 

Just enough. Just enough, just enough

  *Listen to Genevieve read this poem.

 

Though there could be more. When “just” is dust, the more

leads us, the bounty and what ifs and where

is happiness now? And would I not have if I hadn’t known, or would

I have if I did?

                       The persistent winds of afternoon, and solemn,

and looking for the grasses, and cursing that clover, or knowing

for animals it’d be a wonder, and where are animals

here, and the land is repurposed, and fought against, not for feed, for food,

for distance.

                     Where are our neighbors? Here. And here, and here:

these fences. Could they know how much water

a chicken might drink? They, the pecking? Or they, who bought

for land, who envisioned the yard, who knew planting

and mountains and window-dressing. Or looking for that ravine and following

to its end and looking

                                     for the deep in it, and listing to mushrooms or figs, or the differences

in air temperature that shift with desert, or. Or, or. Right

through the wooded area, right up against the municipal golf course.

One, the hitting of these clubs.

          One, the phantom stream, one

                    the coyotes shaking their necks and heads and fur across the hills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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