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Winter 2007, Volume 23.2

Poetry

Christian KnoellerPhoto of Christian Knoeller.


Christian Knoeller holds an MFA from Oregon and a Ph.D. from UC-Berkeley. His work has recently appeared in the Journal of New Jersey Poets, Mother Earth International, South Carolina Review, Southern Humanities Review, Permafrost, South Dakota Review, and English Journal. His collection Completing the Circle was awarded the Millennium Prize.

 

November Snow

Winter has a word for starting over
             written with the patience of shadow

between shattered stalks of corn
             cut down and carted off,

shadows stenciled row after row,
             this sign for starting over, violet

almost beginning to glow.

 

Ode to Van Gogh

Maybe you were impatient—
some say obsessed
with the idea of seasons

changing the orchards
of Provence, galaxies
of blossoms lit

from within, without
shadow: one ethereal
moment, twisted branches

eclipsed by the splendor
they bear. At dusk
you’d return to your room

and light a pipe beside
an almond branch that time
or desire induced to bloom.

 

Off the Farm

They arrive astride a wagon piled high:
melons filled with seed, squash swelling
like a mother come to term,

gourds stretching taut skins,
Turk’s turban flagrant
as gypsies—less a store

than a kind of rite, this pageant
earth brought forth
among dying vines.

It’s all for sale save bales
of hay that mistake cold rain
for the beginning of spring

and sprout beside the girl,
cheeks tinged by chill air,
who guards the till.

 

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