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Andrew Grace did his undergraduate work at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and holds an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis.  His work has appeared in Poetry, Triquarterly, Boston Review, Poetry Daily, and The Iowa Review, among others.  He was the winner of the Southern Poetry Review's Guy Owen Prize in 2003 and an Academy of American Poets Prize .  He is currently a Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University.

The Cortland Review
Salt Publishing




October full of dust, floating dimly then falling,
the sun burnished garish & whiskey.

Its light seeped like dye into the cracked ground.

Children softly erupted as their fathers sat in tractors,
pulling a curtain closed.

I was a child, among the rubble,

silos spilling bricks from the top down,
cold barns filled with mice,

pickup trucks half-crushed and abandoned: convicts
all banished to the same unfinished country.

The corn outgrew us, clogging our horizons
until all we could see was our small box of sky.

My father would come home so covered with dust
he looked like a scarecrow,

his eyes colored hollow with black marker.
Staring contests to pass the time, my brother & I,

tears running down our cheeks, mother walking in
& asking what's wrong?

I learned about disappearing

as the combine left its trail of crop-dust,
a blizzard of absence

billowing into the remaining stalks;
each row of corn was a collapsing wall to a museum

of emptiness. I have always felt

that I have been spared somehow. At night,
we snuck out into the freshly shorn fields

to make sure our neighbors were still there,
house cloaked for months by the climbing plants. We would see

the neighbor children had escaped with us, pale,
desperately chasing after themselves

across their moon-filled yard. We would send them
messages in code with our flashlights, saying

From over here, you look like ghosts

(appeared in The Cortland Review)



Beginning with a line from Hopkins

Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, wherever an elm arches—
wherever June wind barnstorms the dry stations of barley,
clouds like an old tattoo dragging in rain over the West, 
you can almost see how the body moves after life,

fish-tailing across the water hemp, suddenly keen, gunning for any heaven.
Standing in the white pines, their chalk-mail and tin music,
what does this mean to me, starting to fade, even now, hours,
days reshuffling and losing sense in the cipher—

we must work fast: in a pond, somewhere, like a black pearl,
death is spinning itself; memory is the moth turning our anthology
of dead ends to dust above the world of our bodies,
whose skins, in the hoarlight, are frail clay.

(appeared in the Crab Orchard Review)


At Chain of Rocks Canal                                                               

Sky’s first rung spreads morning’s zero draft—
they say a journey is an inch of Hell, maybe two.

Let them find me far from here.
Let them find me in Black Water Lobby, face up, or down.
Let them find me praying in the whining pipes of straw.
Let them find me dumb and thirsting.

I see the road descend.
I see distant silos lit brilliant as Hundred Blossom Tower.
I see the X and O: the unknown and our grief.
I see, and then I do not see, your star.

(appeared in Cairn)



Citronella-reek in the stray dog necropolis, center chamber
of an unused silo, few stars shining.  We, the blister-fingered,
unaccounted-for children burned dry grass in a circle.  I imagined
saccharine smoke pooling in the jaws of a colossus we were inside of,
and had sicced ourselves on, tiny horns and little sticks.  As my shadow
ascended the wall, I thought of my exile as the Tall Hollow Man.

Ring of silt, ring of ash, bones two feet below: what I caught a glimpse of
was a spirit in butter, an image of a god to be burned in a straw temple. 
It’s all circumference, familiar light on the china, a divine cipher droning
like white noise in the unstill fields.  The sleeve of brick is still here,
no corona, no soot on the loosestrife.  I see shadow swallow the room’s wicker and waver, quotidian-creep; white sparks rush to the periphery, and cling.

(appeared in Denver Quarterly)



Picture Coming Soon.

Andrew Grace
Berkeley, CA
Email Andy




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©2006 John Struloeff -- All Rights Reserved.