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Rye Whiskey, Rye Whiskey.

 A switchyard walk at twilight--
 waiting for the freight cars to rattle past & the wheels to melt a
I placed on the rail--an experiment in transformation
widely available to homeschoolers--
study of the thousand & more hurts that need to be endured, an
unspooling infinity of such, in support of so many changes.
You can't explain transience to a child otherwise,
or the purpose of our momentums--
i.e., friction: even in water
a rubbing away occurs during the wanderings of a jellyfish,
swirling & round, tendrilled
for filtering, & highly capable in currents swept along long miles
of norse beachhead-- on every beach
the iodine tang of red seaweed, and cormorants spreading
their wings to dry, putting the squeeze on,
pompous, but getting lighter, & more nubile.
Once you've learned in childhood that the world is built
out of shiftings & abrasions you see how you'll have to make
so I can't forget the smell of my grandfather's freshly-perked
Maxwell House just after
he poured a jigger of rye into his mug,
and how it kindled the air then,
but with consequences. 

DAVID RIVARD is the author of five books of poetry, including Otherwise Elsewhere, Sugartown, and Wise Poison, winner of the James Laughlin Prize from the Academy of American Poets and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Among his recent awards is a fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria in 2012.

photograph by Jennifer Flescher
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Title Annotation:twelve poems
Author:Rivard, David
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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