Like Elvers in Seaweed

On July 25, 2011 by admin


David Wagoner


 Cackling, smelling of camphor, crumbs of pink icing

Clinging to her lips, her lipstick smeared

Halfway around her neck, her cracked teeth bristling

With bloody splinters, she leans over my shoulder.

Oh my only hope, my lost dumbfounding baggage,

My gristle-breasted, slack-jawed zealot, kiss me again.


 The Burning Bush

 A quick flare takes the leaves,

And they rush together up through galls and scales,

To a crook of smoke, thinning and whitening,

And the brief red skeleton glows to a clear char.

From the ends of twigs, the ashes drift like seeds.

The bush stands bare at the edge of the silent prairie.



 When the spade turns over, the worms

In their sheared gangways, turning tail, go thin

Among clods or blunt out in the open,

Half-hitching in fishermen’s knots and flinching

At sunlight, the pulsing line of their hearts

Strung out to be abandoned, sinking backward

And forward among the roots, like them,

Like elvers in seaweed, mouthing the darkness,

All taken in by the darkness of the mouth.


David Wagoner’s Collected Poems was nominated for the National Book Award in 1977 and he won the Pushcart Prize that same year. He won his second Pushcart Prize in 1983. He is the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Sherwood Anderson Foundation Fiction Award, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize (1991), and the English-Speaking Union prize from Poetry magazine. He has also received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.





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