Academic journal article The Midwest Quarterly

Grave

Academic journal article The Midwest Quarterly

Grave

Article excerpt

"... in the black of desire we rock and grunt and shine."

--Denise Levertov from O Taste and See

   At fifty, I wake in the orphanage
   of my life, my parents' ashes buried
   three decades ago in a bluff view
   cemetery which looks out on the hills
   of Nebraska, blue in the distance.
   I once sat on the cold granite stones
   recently chiseled with the names I love
   beside a man I had not yet touched.
   We watched the sun set, took off
   our clothes and made love
   with the pale ghosts of each other
   on the grave of my family.

   He first massaged the curved bones
   in my pelvis, the ribs beneath my breasts
   as if to be sure my skeleton
   could bear his weight before we rolled
   slowly like dogs on the carcass of death.
   I feel his fingers on me now moving
   rung by rung down the ladder of my backbone
   toward the marl of my origins,
   my sadness and sex.
   A light joy talcs my body as if
   I were abandoned as a child, then
   fell into good hands.

Margaret Hasse's two books of poetry are In a Sheep's Eye, Darling (Milkweed Editions, 1988) and Stars' Above, Stars' Below (New Rivers Press, 1984). She has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1993), Loft-McKnight (1985), the Minnesota State Arts Board (1985), and a travel grant from the Jerome Foundation (1991). She has had residencies at Ragdale Foundation (1985), Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (1995), Norcroft (1996), and Blacklock Sanctuary (1999). She has taught creative writing and has been an arts administrator. Since 1988, she has been a private consultant to numerous arts organizations and charitable trusts. …

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