Mandan

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This is my own wilderness

beginning with my fingertips,

cascade tree stubble to silt;

at my right hand, Fontenelle,

mule fawn in green dark,

soft dapple of touch

by sunlight through

leaves brown and green.

It is forest here

with the plains

opening at my back—

the Platte to Northfork,

Chimney Rock and Courthouse Rock.

Mandan in memory of the dead—

deer rustle among dead leaves

and slip elms—memorial of

nine villages to the north

that were clustered about

the head-waters of the river’s

southward flow, a turn

bending down to Fontenelle,

the soft soil that holds

against generations of rainwater

the dark stains of their covered fires.

Selected Poems (Asphodel Press, 1994)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by John Davey

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About Author

Michael Anania is a poet, essayist and fiction writer. His published work includes numerous collections of poetry, among them Selected Poems (l994), In Natural Light (1999) and Heat Lines (2006). His poetry is widely anthologized and has been translated into Italian, German, French, Spanish and Czech.  He has also published a novel, The Red Menace, and a collection of essays, In Plain Sight. Anania was poetry editor of Audit, a quarterly, founder and co-editor of Audit/Poetry, where he edited special issues of the poetry of Frank O辿ara and Robert Duncan. He was poetry and literary editor of The Swallow Press, poetry editor of Partisan Review and a contributing editor to Tri-Quarterly. Anania taught at SUNY at Buffalo, Northwestern and  the University of Chicago and is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He lives in Austin, Texas and on Lake Michigan.

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