is the current New Hampshire poet laureate. Her latest book is Duties of the Spirit (Tupelo Press, 2005) and her book Cold River Season is forthcoming (also from Tupelo Press) in 2009.
Most recently her poems have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Margie, Cimarron Review, Mid-American Review, among others.
In addition to being a Macdowell Fellow, she’s received several awards: The May Swenson Book Award, The NH Jane Kenyon Literary Award, and The Frost Foundation Award.
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August 7th, Storm
You stood at the window, watching sky wash an algaed light
over a town made heavy by three day’s formidable heat.
What would come? Already, clouds massed--slight fall of rain.
In my body, fear—not full-bloom but something
readying the cells, blood’s small acceleration,
storms encoded in our genes: tribes huddled in heaving tents,
gods tearing up their alleys, deer in the brush, shriek of the crow,
cataclysms that formed the stones.
Half past four, the torrents broke over square and steeple,
streets of closed windows.
Wind revved to a wild ferocity, sky drummed with steady thunder,
lightning flooded the room like a gone-mad moon.
Dinner on the stove, nothing could save us now--we unplugged our lives,
took the howling dog into our bed, let the universe have its will.
All over the village tonight the lamps are lit
in boxy houses and the dogs are dancing
at the end of their chains
to the strains of Schubert.
The air is scented with peonies, blossoms
like tissue balls in the moonlight,
and the touch of August air on your skin
is soft as moleskin. Somewhere
a red door closes, a window opens,
a shade is drawn.
In your mouth the taste of syrup
and a sultry low hum in your ears,
the universe singing of willows
and swallows and green pondwater.
All over the village tonight,
No one’s turned on their ovens.
No witches; no Hansels and Gretels.
the dishes are done, the newspapers
folded on the tables.
One by one the lights are going out.
The village lies steaming and dark.