with whatever rock
I remember from Subiaco–
the monks who taught
through high winds
at Easter, the box
trees or dahlias in bloom
before the last frost.
Do not say Josephine,
only favored the flowers
when they were hers
alone to give– or hear her
ministers tell the Polish prince
to steal a hundred
seeds– or answer with
your own loose stone
from the monastery’s grave,
but unsing: clover
on Maple Street. Say nothing.
The mongrel dog can’t recall the road
to the farmhouse. A bale of hay
or tally of bees under the maple– each an oval.
Each night, another Shoeless Joe
mutters a curse & the ground
grows over with nettles. Second sight is
a grass-blade under the tongue. Love,
how to prove the flowers don’t belong here.
& little towns grow like this–
a gravel road curves into rocks where we wanted
to live & could not
or we would have lit
right up, the backroad
as long as our legs
could carry us
to see the night
blaze & ball
change into everything is whittled
that eats what takes
wood & no good
nbsp; I keep you to fall
right into place
grouped in gray
of blue both
the Cimarron’s water.
to see things
as they are
now: a house filled
a room with books,
Stacy Kidd is poetry editor for Quarterly West and a PhD student in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah. Her poems have appeared
recently in The Journal, No Tell Motel, Washington Square, and WITNESS, and are forthcoming in reviews Colorado and Iowa.
“I grew up with a front stoop on Jefferson Street. The neighbors would pull out lawn chairs and sit down for a long time in the driveway across from my house and drink
beer and smoke cigarettes anytime the tornado sirens sounded. When there was a tornado, my parents would stash me in the crawl space underneath my bedroom. They came, too, with
a radio and a blanket, and I could see the neighbors’ feet through a vent in the foundation.
This was Stillwater, and there was a back stoop and a bird dog named Buck after Buck Rogers and maybe Buck Owens. The back stoop was also a good stoop. If you stood on
it long enough and twisted your head the right way, you could sort of see Boomer Lake.
My grandfather’s stoop was covered and looked over his farm which was basically a barn and an old outhouse and some cotton crops and pasture. There was a great little
cellar next to it with jars of pickles and chow chow, which I never learned to like. The cellar had a dirt floor and a table my grandfather dragged down there so I could play
with dolls and teapots and the toy rifle my cousin passed on to me, etc.
Grandfather #2 had a house outside Altus with a front porch and a lot of trees, but I don’t really remember it. He moved into an apartment by the Air Force Base when I
was still small and ran a domino hall with other old farmers. They bet with matchsticks.”