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Fall 1996, Volume 13.3

Poetry

 

Marc Harshman


Marc Harshman teaches fifth and sixth grades in West Virginia. His poems have been published in
The Georgia Review, Wilderness, Foolscap, Quarterly West, Equinox, and others. He has also published seven picture books for children (Cobblehill/Dutton).

 

Wild Cousins

They're not much,
February's tiny clumps
of grassy onion,
their slender threads
just here and there
beginning,
a few bunches
of stalwart sheathing leaves
harbinging early
the coming on
of the green's recovering
of the forest floor,
but as I crush
between index and thumb
their fragile spikes
and breathe and taste,
it's enough
to seal the pact,
as much a sign
in that pungent scent
as in all
the flowers
promised
to sweeten
the march
into April.

 

As If

Fickle, sun-whitened
banks of cloud
press low over the
green-blackened hollow.

In the distance,
where the run
first drops,
the twin knobs
of the Buck farm
dip and cut
against each other's sky,

red barn 
a halved rectangle
jutting
red shadow into
white sky.

Even war and death
must yield
to such mass and shadow
where enters,
thundering,
the bruised light.

A milkweed feathers
over the roadbank.

The bent and stooped, twisted
rose of Sharon
is yellowed, the rose-paper
petallings dropped,
the hummingbirds gone.

When the breeze slows,
the cricket quiet
returns.

The dry hiss of drought
sounds in the
leaves' friction
with the air.

A million shadows
lit with amber
and green light,
grasses and
apple silvers and
rattling bronze papers
under the shadow-sooted branch
of the old tree
surround me

where I knew
there was headroom
I open
the trees
as if

as if opening
the rooms of paradise.

 

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