Elegy

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As the creek clogs with mud, as trillium,
calypso, and lady’s slippers lift into the dozer’s
gaped mouth, as pileated woodpeckers
sink beaks into the widow makers’ rotted hearts,
as the kingfisher hovers above the silt-thick water
for the last time, rattle dying in its mouth,
then beats across the sedge and saw grass heavy
with seed toward the blue scar in the east,
as sun enters a mist-beaded web, the spider,
gone now, having swung from the maple’s top branch
to stitch a stretch of wind to the pokeberry,
top-heavy, laden with dark fruit, first light
slant in the distance, rain just ended, fog curling
from the fields’ ruts and shallows, a rabbit freezing
in a hawk’s shadow, as the chainsaw revs up
to a high-pitched scream, I feel it, the earth shaking loose,
rotted teeth falling out one by one, groaning to a halt,
feel it shudder and roll off its one great root.

 

Photo By: Paul Stein

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About Author

Judy Jordan’s first book of poetry, Carolina Ghost Woods, won the 1999 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, the 2000 National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as the Utah Book of the Year Award, the OAY Award from the Poetry Council of North Carolina, and the Thomas Wolfe Literary Award. Her second book of poetry, Sixty Cent Coffee and a Quarter to Dance, was published by LSU press. Jordan’s third manuscript, Hunger, which is about the two years she spent in semi-homelessness living in a greenhouse is at LSU press and she just completed a fourth book of poetry. Jordan built her own environmentally friendly house out of cob and earthbag while living in a tent, founded SIPRAW, which rescued dogs out of puppy mills, lives off the grid, is a vegan, and teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

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