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Poetry Supplement Summer 1999, Volume 17.0



Michelle Paulsen photo of Michelle Paulson.

Michelle Paulson [far right, sitting] (M.A. University of Illinois, Chicago) is a Lecturer at The University of Missouri-Rolla and on the adjunct faculty of Concordia University Wisc.-St. Louis Center. Her first book,
What Wells Up, was published by the Edwin Mellen Poetry Press (Lewiston, NY) in 1997. Her second collection of poetry, Dirt, or Your Name is Mud, is forthcoming from Holy Mackerel Press (Greeley, CO).


Four Poems

thirty, in a
plane over the
pacific, no
children with
the child
of an
obese opera
singer who,
since boyhood,
has had
of the
wrong end of
girdles. california
behind us, the flight
plan suggests
we do not
stop until west
becomes east.
with nothing
on the
horizon but
water, i am
beginning to be
suspicious of the
meanings of

when unexpected
guests show up for
dinner, each
woman, alone
in her
kitchen, knows
how to stretch the

the sugar
maple may be
sweet, but she's not
innocent. skin
bright as a
lamp without
shade, she arrives
late, eating and drinking and
sinning and speaking
of an indian
summer. an aging
starlet, painted
face to the
crowd, she can't keep her
insides from
oozing out

when you've tried
to live
here long
enough, you begin
to understand the stubborn
shiftlessness of the
place. the
clay doesn't allow for
absorption, and
nothing can take
root. the effort
stains hands blood
red, which only wears
but never
washes off.


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