Four Poems by Stephanie Anderson

Depth Hoar

Nightfall hot and edgy; Emily at an angle
of repose, down to damp tick, watching
edging on the windows, craving wind.

A triple meter plays
         in the parlor; floors
         screak as Catch crosses
to the player’s needle
         set at edge again,
         viola and crackling.

Insisting on sinking eyes, and finally, a slab
of snow where wall would be, a widening
crack in the slope prior to avalanche

 

 

Any Surface on the Same Plane

You’re Catch’s little girl somewhere sighs
      from stoops, and keys are clacking;
           trigger-sound. I lift my skirts
                 to dash past no gold letters

but signs instead for Poultry Exotics
      and Frozen Grapes and Do Not
           Drive Into Smoke. Now galloping
                 past Sassafras Point, through

Drilland, Helnway – paper mill in place
      of tannery – ’till finally I am still
           with burlap – his snoring or
                 the ceiling fan? Lamp black

or black ivory? Muslin and twill
      underhand or denim like sailcloth?
           These various affections are an alloy
                 detrimental to repose – skin caught

on jaggers. I wake to train, draw the red
      moreen against Gownsville or empty
           mills or an outline of swell and sweep –
                 this the coming home in raw twilight.

 

 

Implements of Animal Husbandry

Straw chopper, cinder block

Not a bumpershoot but sheers

The godevil next to crock

Milking stool or surrey here

Glad rags or water cups

Crock and peeps, potato bins

Some chestnuts, some beech nuts

Croupers, springs, and star bits

 

Bark Stacks

Process marks the skin.

In the leach house, hemlock bark bits
and steaming water churn to tannic acid –
cooling tank-turned.
                                    Shoveling bark pulp
is better than shoveling cow shit.

Less boiling, the bate house. Men on
the wheels, tumbling hides with chicken
manure to trace out the lime.
                                          Knife quick?

Sent to the beam hands, nearer the beginning,
process located – coverings stacked,
through wash wheels, tail and hooves cut
clean, and two days sunk in the vats.
Now fleshings come off,
                                       slippery and scraping
and stuck and stunk rotten.

Finally fixed in the finishing house, feeding
hides to the splitting machine or
hand-stained in the coloring room,
                                                            floating them
on the dye. Strange continents.

Former outlines.

And of course, a trailing industry, bosses
sealing buildings, buffalo giving
out.
          Hills hemlock bark-stripped. Tan
packs not towering.

 

 

 


Stephanie Anderson is the author of four chapbooks, including In the Particular Particular (winner of the 2006 DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press Chapbook Prize) and The Nightyard (winner of the 2009 Noemi Press Chapbook Prize). A full-length book, In the Key of Those Who Can No Longer Organize Their Environments, is forthcoming in Summer 2013 with Horse Less Press. She edits Projective Industries.

An excerpt from her poem “Mist Nets” was also published in Two Serious Ladies.