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
Process marks the skin.
In the leach house, hemlock bark bits
and steaming water churn to tannic acid –
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.
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,
on the dye. Strange continents.
And of course, a trailing industry, bosses
sealing buildings, buffalo giving
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.