Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Anna Journey

Walking Upright in a Field of Devils

Because billy goats rise to the height of a woman
and walk upright, I saw a field of devils

blue and vertical, horned in the moonlight, heat
lightning in their luminous beards. Because the static

of grackles crying from ball moss in mesquite
meant this could be Italy, though it was the black

fields caught between strip malls
flanking Houston.

It's true that Keats walked further and further
from England into Scotland, and the landscape grew

more grim with every step. Lakes shrunk to a slurp
in each cheek. It's also true

that ships from a distance bob as copper weather-cocks
over a thatch of cottages. True, the prickly pear

is a leper dropping its limbs in the field. What is untrue?
The shape of a lung filled like a trough

might press down on a man's stomach--
he'd write his lover: a bellyache

brief as a devil's beard.
In the field: goat-eyed and planetary,

something about to move, the half-bloomed moon,
a pecked-out tea rose. The sun still hours away

in another century -- morning stalling its laudanum
eyes over a field, a death bed. Bodiless.

Then the rise

* originally appeared in Shenandoah Vol 56, No. 3 , 2006

Anna Journey teaches creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she also serves as a contributing editor for the online journal Blackbird. She was the recipient of the 2005 Wabash Prize for Poetry as well as an Academy of American Poets' Prize, and her work as also been featured in FIELD, Gulf Coast and Best New Poets 2006.


shann said...

hey Nick! Thanks for reading my little poems- I'm busy revising right now, then I'll start sending some out and seeing where they land.

Do you know Anna Journey? I had the great pleasure of introducing her this February at the Virginia Museum readings- she is delightful and I really enjoyed her poetry.

(still trying to get my act together)


Nick said...

Hope they all find a home. No, I don't know Anna Journey personally, but her work speaks volumes to me.

(I was born trying to get my act together!)