restricted access The Two Times I Loved You Most on a Farm, and Five Letters Returned to Sender
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The Two Times I Loved You Most on a Farm, and Five Letters Returned to Sender

The Two Times I Loved You Most on a Farm

after Dorothea Grossman

It was your idea to teach me how to sleep

      under the stars      how to hold a gun      how

to shoot it in the air      & firework it

   across the setting sun      a silver dragonfly

      with a singular purpose:      to hunt

& snap      its mouth around the      sweetest bee—

      pluck it right out of the air—

I didn’t know love      could be so loud.

         & once, the fields      of soybean & mice

      became      a kind of      prayer,

         shushing tassels      on the blown-back

    calico curtains of your childhood      bedroom

where      you kissed me,      & my shoulders

before      the window—    I never saw      the ribs

    of a silver silo      that way again. [End Page 66]

Five Letters Returned to Sender

Dear Wheat & Wood—I cannot explain my absence. My body continued to grow in the night. Every knob of every muscle every heavy breath from his chest has its patience, its price.

Dear Diamond—You are loneliness and a battalion of sunspots thrown across a wall. Do not follow me back to the palace.

Dear Quartz—Forgive each step on this beach. Let me alone with each sun and all his gallop. Every third step or so, I’d force a smile.

Dear Salt—I cannot explain my absence. The snowplow rolled over me again and again and I confess: I liked it. Even the way the streetlights nicked red/green, red/green into each bank and berm.

Dear Persimmon—I cannot explain his absence. He was cotton and coffee in my mouth. The spit and rind. I should have known. People drive to the lake to ask questions of the lake. [End Page 67]

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is professor of English at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Her most recent collection of poetry, Lucky Fish (Tupelo Press, 2011), was awarded the gold medal in Poetry from the Independent Publisher Book Awards and the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize for Independent Books. She is the recipient of numerous other awards, including an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, the Pushcart Prize, the Boatwright Prize from Shenandoah, the Richard Hugo Prize from Poetry Northwest, and the Angoff Award from the Literary Review. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Orion, Southern Review, Tin House, and many other journals.