Genevieve Kaplan’s poems have appeared in a variety of journals, including Rhino, Western Humanities Review, Copper Nickel, and Gulf Coast. Her first book of poetry, In the ice house, won the 2009 A Room of Her Own Foundation To the Lighthouse poetry prize and was published by Red Hen Press in 2011. A chapbook, settings for these scenes, is forthcoming from Convulsive Editions. Since 2003 she has been the editor of the Toad Press International chapbook series, publishing contemporary translations of poetry and prose, and she recently joined the board of the “Fourth Sundays: Poetry at the Claremont Library” reading series. : http://genevievekaplan.blogspot.com/ .

 

Up the tree or down the tree

                                              running along the wire, the fence
through the leaves on the ground (a dry crunch, a deep
pleasure). night comes, along after the day and the weather
is back again, the hum of the distance, and who needs
what I’ll send them to, or when, in the open field, where
the animals are small and mild, natural. they flirt
with me after all, admiring my hair and my boundaries
and my tired age.
                                         in my head, and all around it, the gentle
shaking, there, down from the limbs, on the soil, the ground
in the path where it smells like peaches, green curry, spicy
bay. I haven’t made one, I never found one, I sat still
all day and tried not to let anyone see in the heart (of the space)
of the clearing, the slight wind that stalls just nearby, there

published in Spiral Orb   

Epigraph

1.         Cruelty in the new west, like cruelty
            in the old, begins at home (with the) misuse
            of lightbulbs, wedding rings, microwaves. There’s no
            telling.

                          County lines shift over time but we’re
            not so fragile. Quaint enough we’re allowed
            to be a part of it. Facing the musty window (fingerprints,
           creases,
            barbarism)--how many miss it?

2.         The mirror in my mouth, I hope, won’t betray a thing.

3.         There’s a danger in beauty, a net in the sea, a kite in the sky,
            a bird in the tree.

from  In the ice house


Each day (a new needle on the gravel)

the largest bird is the one to return, brown
over white rocks, beak up
over the branches (I find
some loose feathers there). too bad
the evening can’t support it (a happiness
gesture, sounds that spill out all together)
often we can’t smell the sea here, often enough
the tops of the mountains appear. each morning
I peek out to see who is there. which legs
under the edge of the fence, whose throat
sounds, whose sad life. I don’t think
the birds notice. I don’t expect they remember
one day to the next, one bird gone after.
they know where to go, but what, what, often too tight
in the head, not enough room between the eyes. the shadows
the tree, the low chirp, it would do
to make things happen, the air and the thick
of it, we’re equally tired, too unamused
to look out for beauty, to see something in destruction
(a mining operation, a man-made pit--out, out)
unpeaceful falling, asleep even, at the time when it mattered

 

published in Yew: A Journal of Innovative Writing 

 

 

Genevieve Kaplan

 

 

2012 Genevieve Kaplan


 

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