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Reckoner

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You open your mouth—wide, wider—
and voilà, a foggy forest
slips out. Open again and spit
a castle. And so on…for a moat,
a stable, and the ever
sallying-forth dead aunties.

Sure, you can spew a distant fire-chucking
volcano. Or blow a spit-bubble
with a baby in it. What language,
what words will said baby let fly
when you’re nowhere? When you’re
roaming her dreams with her dear deceased
(& why were hers all ball-gowned up?),
when you’re a dirt speck in an earth clod
in a world that’s eventuated…back to
warlessness, back and back to only rats
in the underground, back back back
to fowl becoming fish.

G

Author Image

Nance Van Winckel’s newest books are Ever Yrs., a novel in the form of a scrapbook (Twisted Road, 2014), and Pacific Walkers, her sixth collection of poems and a finalist for the 2014 Washington State Book Awards (U. of Washington Press, 2013). The recipient of two NEA Poetry Fellowships and awards from the Poetry Society of America, Poetry, and Prairie Schooner, she has new poems in The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Poetry Northwest, Field, and Gettysburg Review. She is on the MFA faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts and is Professor Emerita in E. Washington University’s Inland Northwest Center for Writers.

Feature image by Hedda Sterne, Untitled, ca. 1938. Painting, drawing 32 x 25 cm.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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