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Poem of the Day--Robert Wrigley

By John Published: April 8, 2011

Robert Wrigley was one of my teachers at the University of Oregon.  I've never known someone more in love with the sound of words. When I read the word "peduncular"  in this poem,  I see him smiling.

The Afterlife

1

 Spring, and the first full crop of dandelions gone
to smoke, the lawn lumpish with goldfinches,
hunched in their fluffs, fattened by seed,
alight in the wind-bared peduncular forest.
Little bells, they loop and dive, bend
the delicate birch branches down.
I would enter the sky through the soil
myself, sing up the snail bowers
and go on the lam with the roots.
Licked by filaments, I would lie,
a billion love-mouths to suckle and feed.

Where the river will be next week,
a puddle two trout go savagely dying in.
Notice the bland, Darwinian sand: bone wrack
and tree skin, the ground down moon bowls
of mussels, viral stones dividing like mold.
At twelve, I buried the frog because it was dead
and dug it up because I'd been dreaming
a fish belly light, a lowly chirruped chorus
of amens. I thought my nights might smell of hell.
 
Bland, hum-drum, quotidian guilt
if I've killed one frog, I've killed two.
Saint Rot and the sacraments of maggots:
knowing is humus and sustenance is sex.
It accrues and accrues, it stews
tumorous with delight. Tomorrow's
a shovelful, the spit of the cosmos, one day
the baby's breath is no longer a rose.

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