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Wednesday, April 16, 2008 02:20 pm

People's poetry

Jacqueline Jackson presents

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northfifthstreet poem #5

in my back yard sits maybe sits a rabbit maybe alive maybe dead surely dead
if that cat came back I kept my distance yesterday so as not to scare but soon knew it was beyond scaring I approached slowly stroked its neck saw the hand-sized space of bared flesh on its back pink blue wide as my hand its flank too —
now what get the shovel? one swift blow quick pain rather than slow agony? I went inside did nothing rationalized little animals are  daily killed in fields woods even here on fifth street it was an unsettled evening now over coffee I write a check for polar bears one for darfur   
© Jacqueline Jackson 2008

Putting bed pillows onto the grass to freshen, it’s a pretty humble subject for a poem, but look how Kentucky poet, Frank Steele, deftly uses a sun-warmed pillow to bring back the comfort and security of childhood.
Part of a Legacy
I take pillows outdoors to sun them as my mother did. “Keeps bedding fresh,”
she said. It was April then, too —
buttercups fluffing their frail sails, one striped bee humming grudges, a crinkle of jonquils. Weeds reclaimed bare ground. All of these leaked somehow into the pillows, looking odd where they simmered all day, the size of hams, out of place on grass. And at night I could feel some part of my mother still with me in the warmth of my face as I dreamed baseball and honeysuckle, sleeping on sunlight.
Poem copyright © 2000 by Frank Steele, whose most recent book of poetry is Singing into That Fresh Light, co-authored with Peggy Steele and edited by Robert Bly (Blue Sofa Press, 2001). Reprinted from Blue Sofa Review (Vol. II, No. 1, Spring 2000), by permission of Frank Steele. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Ted Kooser served as the U.S. poet laureate 2004-2006. For more information, go to www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.
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