Amends

 

No errancy in what death quicks to loam.  The 45’s whirr over the
deer-clogged ditch.  Dusk, lost the nightshade-cankered corn to
sharpen damage to an I, hook fresh from the grinder’s azure mohawk,
moon-faded alluvium’s white drainage, moth-sparks corona the silo.
Hurt large enough to fail to be named.  I evoke x from the chert-born
stones.  I carry y to the soil.  Z in the constant oat click, we take you
as true.  History lost enough to not be recorded the black land ledger. 
I once asked my father for the junked scrub in the back acreage.  He
said yes and stepped into a field of now indistinguishable cataclysms.

 

 

 

Curse                                                                                                                                                    

 

Empty field, steeped
in red matrix of sundown,
built like a past: brilliant in wither,
long in purchase; this is land
I inherited.  Nitrogen, silk rot,

alfalfa seeds socked in
for the dry burn, is the field’s drama.
To stop this slow warp of nostalgia
bending damage and balm
into an unbroken circle is mine.  Pitiable

to be as at my fingertips as this field is.
Pitiable how inexhaustible
mist and pig smell are to me.
We owe each other as vowel
and salvation owe each other.

 

 

 

 

Z

 

My father died on the floor of a machine shed on March 4th, 2004, the wind of Indiana in his lungs.

The wind from Indiana blows backwards across the prairie.
The wind from Indiana moves the wolf-flow south.
The wind from Indiana is an accomplice to drought.
The wind from Indiana burned the chicken coop to ashes.
The wind from Indiana cares nothing about its own.

 

 

He was beneath a Chevy Suburban when the jack slipped and its weight was revealed to him.

The wind from Indiana is the duration of loss.
The wind from Indiana is a plastic curtain to collapse behind.
The wind from Indiana is morphine.
The wind from Indiana is filling a bottle
I drink from to fill the void the wind from Indiana made.

 

 

When I found him, a 911 operator spoke a red thread into my ear.

In late winter, the wind from Indiana is a kind of church.
The wind from Indiana is a dome over black elms.
The wind from Indiana points its pale arm and finger.
The wind from Indiana preaches to an audience
of windmills and souls disconnected and spinning wildly.

  

 

I stood above him and watched the history of who I was calmly leave.

The wind from Indiana abandons us in favor of endlessness.
A scrap of the wind from Indiana is caught in an empty room.
The wind from Indiana scuttles letters across the floor.
Dearest Sue, tomorrow is already here…
The wind from Indiana has no memory.

 

And now I am outside my history and yet still in the thick roar of the given.

 


Andrew Grace is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University.  His poems have appeared in Poetry magazine, Denver Quarterly, Boston Review, and he has work forthcoming in the Indiana Review, Seattle Review and Another Chicago Magazine among others.  His second book, Shadeland, is forthcoming.