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Category archive for: Laura Cronk

New American Forest

This is the new American forest.

You seduce me with the food you gather,

I seduce you with the food I gather.

We don’t waste. What we are building

benefits from each choice piece

as well as from each salvageable piece.

We’ve come here through the groves

of hemlock dying with pests.

We walk through the standing dead into living trees,

through the forest and farther until we reach the stream.

We follow as it gathers. We walk to the falls.

We were mad to be in contact with each other.

Now we are in contact with each other.

We are in contact with branches and leaves,

air, sun, with the darkness at night.

As we walk the narrowing trails,

pushing back thorny branches,

everything becomes denser, darker, more in the middle,

less beginning, less end, more lost clung together,

more rising on wobbly legs.

We slept in the open at first,

now we make a place for ourselves where we go.

I know that I could swell with you, but

you could also swell with me.

Look, we’ve actually become thinner together,

taking what we need, saving even more.

from Having Been an AccompliceFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

You Come for Fear

You come for fear of the other men,

the ones who wait at the port

for the ship to dock.

You know they want

a sea captain. You know

that my waist is still supple,

my legs still strong.

You know how much money

I send home but you know

how much the men at the port

waiting there leaning on the ropes

think a captain has when she returns.

I’ll come home,

walk down the unsteady board

to you, the wind on your face,

your hair freshly washed.

Smelling not of salt and yeast,

the thick smells of the ship

and its women.

Smelling like earth,

peppery and warm,

you’ll wear your good jacket.

We’ll walk together

home to the stew you’ve made,

to the house carefully arranged,

the fiddle in the corner. I’ll wait for you to play;

I won’t ask. I’ll start to clean up.

You’ll take the fiddle to the back.

You’ll play, the fiddle so small

in your hands, face bent over it, eyes closed.

You’ll play the ancient song

that makes a woman’s legs grow land-bound

and unable to go to sea.

The rite that rarely works but could.

You’ll play, your large hands, one black nail,

one blood blister, the calluses and notches

in your finger tips, the song too long,

too hopeful and strange, too much

in it of what we know is wrong,

sinful even to ask for.

I don’t want to be at the prow of a ship.

I don’t want the women waiting

for their orders. I don’t want the gasping

deaths of the fish dumped out on the deck.

I want the pagan love song

my husband plays to keep me here.

from Having Been an AccompliceFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Darling, Your Are the World’s Fresh Ornament

Darling, you are the world’s fresh ornament.

Ne’er a bigger bloom could a seeker find

Than this that you, dear fool, have on displayment.

The displacement of my gentle mind

To boudoir regions, gaudy cunning luxury,

Has my old self-substantial petrol in short supply.

To run this rearing gal, the new polished buxomry

Demands a man-the night’s auto reply

To teenish hungers doesn’t cut it.

Give me tender pullings of the world one way

And another, and I’ll give right back.

That’s the way to increase, to fight the lack.

from Having Been an AccompliceFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Would I Be Able to Stand

Would I be able to stand

a horse charging past?

The earth changing fast under its hooves,

the body slick, enormous.

I think I wouldn’t flinch.

But even in thought, in quiet,

long after the horse had gone

shrinking up over the hill,

I wouldn’t know you.

You, coming close

enough to graze me.

from Having Been an AccompliceFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

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