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Category archive for: Debra Kang Dean

Hail

I was eleven the first time I saw it,

the November afternoon gone

heavy and gray. I’d begun

to doze when something—

not palm fronds rustling

nor monkey pods rattling,

but more like spoons against glass

or small bells—something began

clinking against the second story’s

blue palings and rails, lightly at first,

bringing all of us, even the teacher,

to our feet and out the door.

              Not since,

three years before, when the staticky

Standard Oil broadcast had been

interrupted by news that brought to tears

even Miss Engard (who didn’t tax

our imaginations too hard playing

the part of witch at Halloween)

had there been so much commotion.

Seeing our teachers openly weeping

had frightened us even more than a word

like assassination.

        Above us,

concrete. Under our feet, concrete.

And all of us stretching our hands

beyond the blue rails to catch,

as they fell, clear pieces of sky

that burned a second,

melting in our hands.

from PrecipitatesFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2003
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Weather Report

Fifteen miles west of Boston

and mostly the news is of small creatures

and snow. A self-appointed snow inspector,

I tune in to the weather: snow and sun,

sometimes clouds or showers or wind

or chattering letters that spell chilly.

As with everywhere I’ve lived

the forecasters look like

Vanna White surrogates or

used-car salesmen. Still,

they grow on you

like poker pals upping the ante—

with shifts of pressure.

Sometimes the weather calls their bluff.

Still, they, at least, seem to know

where they are. Right now

a light snow is falling,

a steady downpour

of flakes fine as gnats.

To her usual, “What’s up?”

I give my old friend the usual answer:

“Same old shit shoveled a different way.”

I bundle up. Before I thread my fingers

through the shovel’s handle,

it flashes a conspiratorial grin.

from PrecipitatesFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2003
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

i. reflected light

On a two-lane, near the shoulder, bracing

itself against speed, a turtle’s green face that is my face.

At the heart of the desert, an oasis

amid fasting and prayer. Lean face that is my face,

though I hunger, I am singing these praises

that rise like incense. A serene face, that is my face.

Not to the swift goes the race; time flies—and erases,

says the moon, sweet face that is my face.

I am walking into the dark woods’ embrace

by a reflected light. Unseen face, that is my fate.

from PrecipitatesFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2003
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.