Saturday, December 6, 2008

Three poems by Denise C. Banker

Oak Glen

Each day my dog Rosebud
and I hike to this same spot
at Oak Glen where prairie
crisp in late January calms
despite a chill wind

We muse among bur oaks'
rutted, furrowed trunks
and gnarled limbs
Rosebud, let us always return

We wait for wind's timbre
voice to fix us in its hum
to this horizon of grass
To set loose our calamities
To scatter memory's mulch
in lichen, leaves and acorn husks
Let these blow away from us

We walk off a friend's conceit
We lay a stretch of regret
beneath blue berried juniper
We soak a load of animus,
its ugly vapor hissing,
in the beaver's creek

Everywhere the hush alive
invites us to let go
Rosebud, let us let go


The future belongs to anyone else.
I'm staying in the past
where your blue eyes hold me
in their smile, where nights are star-
filled and fragrant, where autumn
has arranged dried leaves in unmown grass.

In the future you will have faded,
so I cling to our past. The map
of your palm unfolded
and held out to me.
I finger our route along
the work-worn surface.

I give the future away,
the box wrapped in silver
and gold, like Christmas,
and write myself into a snowglobe:

the net of snow, the prairie, a dog,
two boys, and their parents walking.


The Platte river pulls a rim of fog
to its lip, and trees in fresh nakedness
toss. There was hard freeze last night.

I wind the clocks,
your old job,
so I take pride
in having learned

to turn the key
eight turns to the left
Wednesday and
Saturday nights.

A silence is here
like in the study of art.
It chisels your absence
into shape:
this fog-scarved river
and these bare trees

shift of stone unnoticed,
sap deep in heartwood,
fog diaphanous
shrouding the river.

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