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In the Next Galaxy, by Ruth Stone
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Excerpts From the
2002 National Book Award Winner for Poetry

 

In the Next Galaxy

Things will be different.
No one will lose their sight,
their hearing, their gallbladder.
It will be all Catskills with brand-
new wraparound verandas.
The idea of Hitler will not
have vibrated yet.
While back here,
they are still cleaning out
pockets of wrinkled
Nazis hiding in Argentina.
But in the next galaxy,
certain planets will have true
blue skies and drinking water.

In the Next Galaxy
© 2002 by Ruth Stone
All rights reserved.
Copper Canyon Press


Metaphors of the Tree


The play yard with its automobile tire
hanging from the one tree, like a lynching.

The tree wrapped around itself in multiple muscles;
a clump of trees come together under the bark,
twisting up; a corporate tree, the only tree in the yard.

The tree with its thousand subsidiaries
cluster-booming, testing air, expanding;
its product underground, growing chemicals;
pulling the guts from the soil, involved with the fungus.

The tree, tilting its leaves to capture bullets of light; inhaling,
exhaling; its many thousand stomata breathing, creating the air.

Then the absent tree when the play yard is paved with asphalt;
a blank space where the tree was, a space that the birds pass over,
where the wind does not pause.

In the Next Galaxy
© 2002 by Ruth Stone
All rights reserved.
Copper Canyon Press



A Pair

The black and white cat
means to get off
the screened-in porch.
Castrated but suave,
he lives with this older woman
whose husband, dead thirty years,
secretly puts his cheek to hers
in a dime store photograph.
The children no longer visit.
The cat holds all the threads
of her detonated psyche.
He is the master key without
a lock. She picks him up.
The porch screen has been mended.
He thinks there are the old openings.
Birds, insects leap
out of the flecked light.
Inside the screen, her hands
stroke his electric body.

In the Next Galaxy
© 2002 by Ruth Stone
All rights reserved.
Copper Canyon Press

Permission to use the poetry has been granted by Copper Canyon Press, P. O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA 98368-0271, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

 


 



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