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 The pressure-treated pinewood the picnic table is built from might
as well have marched around at Dunsinane as to be born again &
shipped abroad. "There's nothing," the clerk at the
big-box had said, "nothing as rot-resistant, & nothing as solid
for the money." So onward we came only to arrive here as fiercely
soft-spoken as all adults handed white wine & beers and seated on
long benches below the window of a napping three-month old. Spring frogs
where crickets would hide later in summer along the stream, Virginia
creeper & budded pin oak where the martens & badgers had
navigated through snow--guided by whatever instrumentation their
genetics had brought into play. A place turned so green by grasses it
feels almost a sin to sit there reading a book with a black cover. The
Irish one of us was speaking of how at fourteen she'd quit all that
church life--the kindly or peevish Sisters of Mercy sweeping school kids
up the wide aisles for Communion, white wimples and black habits the sad
wool of virginal housekeepers dedicated to the poverty-line--I would not
bury my face in it for anything when I cried, she said. Sometimes she
wished to be back in church now but maybe that was only a daydream for
the sake of her baby gift thinking there had better be more in life than
striving & accumulating property & toys--anyway, she laughed,
every child should have some god other than her parents to defy. "I
see men as trees, walking," the man who was blind told Christ,
half-way to being cured. In all versions of the story the enormity of
his change kept secret strangely. Hidden. "Go not into the
town," Christ says, "nor tell it to any from the town."
The possibility of change concealed. And as the sun set across the river
the cabin casting its lopsided shadow & trying to become bigger
& wider than the mountain. Arguing its case. After that, the secret
life. The dark forest maneuvering then in the middle of the dark forest.

DAVID RIVARD is the author of four books, the most recent of which is Sugartown (Graywolf, 2006). In 2006, he was awarded the O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize by the Folger Shakespeare Library, for his teaching as well as his writing. He is on the faculty of the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire.
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Title Annotation:fourteen poems: A Special APR Supplement
Author:Rivard, David
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Nov 1, 2008
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