We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR
title

Beautiful Trouble

Amy Fleury

Publication Year: 2004

In her first collection of poems, Kansas native Amy Fleury captures images of dragging clotheslines, baked lawns, and sweet potato babies, inserting them with an earnest dignity into her stories of midwestern life. Beautiful Trouble explores the subtleties of landscape, place, families, girlhood, womanhood, and everyday existence on the prairie. Fleury writes of the Midwest with authenticity, speaks of romance with delicate allure, and recalls the heartbreak of childhood without self-pity. In meditations on resilience and life’s contradictions, Fleury engages her characters fully and paints their souls and sensations evenly in language both rare and beautiful. She is a poet in love with sound and its power to summon majesty from quotidian scenes. Her poems are brief and striking, depending on exquisite word choice and balance to achieve a simple order on the page.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (103.3 KB)
pp. 1-3

Title Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (37.8 KB)
p. 4-4

Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (42.9 KB)
pp. 5-7

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (33.1 KB)
pp. 8-9

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF (34.6 KB)
pp. ix-x

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the editors of the following publications, where some of these poems originally appeared...

One

read more

Always Girl

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.9 KB)
p. 3-3

That girl, always a string bean child fretting at her mama’s skirts. Her time will come, sorry to say. She trips across pasture tugging that grubby-toed baby...

read more

Consolation

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.9 KB)
p. 4-4

Once there was a walnut tree that shook its sorrows onto our house. At night we could hear them clatter to the roof, tumbling over shingles, wobbling down the pitch. In the bellowing wind,...

read more

Penance: Reading to a Shut-In

pdf iconDownload PDF (32.1 KB)
p. 5-5

For a while I was enamored of such a life, of sealed doors and the shades drawn. I arrived in the afternoons...

read more

Papier-Mâché Jupiter

pdf iconDownload PDF (32.2 KB)
p. 6-6

Torn strips of the Kansas City Star, gray news from 1979, farm crisis headlines dredged in glue, Jimmy Carter’s crumpled face pasted on a yellow balloon. Layer on layer, she bandaged it with the worry...

read more

Fifth Grade

pdf iconDownload PDF (32.4 KB)
p. 7-7

She rode a short bus, little loaf of bread on wheels, which let her out at the front steps of her red brick school. The classroom smelled like pencil lead and minty paste, and lacy, paper snowflakes...

read more

Pink

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.8 KB)
p. 8-8

It’s the suffering of little girls, all that fuss of ruffle and frill. Once we wished to be pink-lipped and lovely, to be perfectly tipped...

read more

The Thirsting Hours

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.7 KB)
p. 9-9

At night the little ones drown in their milky sleep. They slip beneath this life to swim in salty dreams. During those thirsting...

read more

To Spit and Hone

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.9 KB)
p. 10-10

Granddad’s whiskers were in the basin, and I was sad to see them go. He was out on the stump, keening his knife, singing a circle on his old whetstone. It was the August of...

read more

Covenant

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.8 KB)
p. 11-11

You draw the bow of barbed wire, let me pass through to the pasture, to you and the other side. It is a good day to...

read more

At Twelve

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.7 KB)
p. 12-12

Their ripening is almost impolite. Splayed under smears of shade, these girls give back our gaze, brazen and unashamed. Hips jut, nipples pout, the body’s...

read more

Consider the Thunder

pdf iconDownload PDF (33.2 KB)
pp. 13-14

Its low deliberate appeal, how it speaks of hunger or danger or deluge. Every weather shuns its own burden...

Two

read more

Wherever the Dancing Is Done

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.6 KB)
p. 17-17

I am a fool. Believe it. I whirl and wheel in my barefooted way, drunk and off-kilter, hair in my face...

read more

Things Familiar

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.9 KB)
p. 18-18

Those were her cornbread and gravy days, days she swept the kitchen of all but faith and thrift. She kept the itch of fire in the matchsafe, humble potatoes in their bin. Mornings she stirred...

read more

A Prayer for Intercession

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.8 KB)
p. 19-19

There is comfort in a needle plunged and drawn, each stitch a whisper and a hush. I work to the quilt that will fill a hollow cradle with splinters and seams...

read more

Aurelia Waiting

pdf iconDownload PDF (32.1 KB)
p. 20-20

It was not a bad place, this place, her home. From a swell above town she watched brisk bluestem washed in wistful breeze and Union Pacific shuttle...

read more

Nemaha County Nocturne

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.8 KB)
p. 21-21

The difficult stars parse the night into silence, benediction, dream. Between soil and silo thrums the grammar of grain and all of Kansas rests. The slender roots of weeds suck at the dirt, and the listing windmills and ruined...

read more

Homestead

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.7 KB)
p. 22-22

He had the wanderfoot, and that’s how we landed in this harvest of rocks and wind...

read more

Mercy at Home

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.9 KB)
p. 23-23

She wants to be small, like something left on a bureau: a fingernail paring, a zinc penny, a rotted milk tooth, a fleck...

read more

Almanac

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.9 KB)
p. 24-24

There is a physics to burnt toast and tenderness— a law proven in a kitchen south of a certain town. Here she scrapes black crumbs in washboard rhythm for the old man choked with bacon grease and egg yolk who sits at her table...

read more

Remedy

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.8 KB)
p. 25-25

She had the remedy for a dead seed, any sorry thing that could ail a girl. They knew the way to her sagging porch, to her window divining light. Cabbage folds for poultice, buckthorn to purge, every pod and petal drawn to soothe...

read more

Sonnet for Dissonance

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.8 KB)
p. 26-26

The bell’s dull clapper stirs each day at noon, but I want silver lyric, twisted tin, metal, a jangle of...

read more

Threshing

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.8 KB)
p. 27-27

Under the polished spokes of the sun, they sickle and sheave their wheat. He sings her that song she’s been wanting to hear of riffling water and sweet fall breeze. But these are her hands calloused with rhythm, this is her hair full of sweat...

read more

About Rose Ida

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.7 KB)
p. 28-28

Who would give a good god damn if she walked to town with her two bare feet? She could comb through her curls with mulberry-stained fingertips, and rush into the drugstore...

read more

Supplications to the Blessed Mother

pdf iconDownload PDF (37.4 KB)
pp. 29-32

All evening the furnace spun its woolly heat and the dull pendulum swung. Sleeping in bloodless sheets, I dreamt the bedclothes had...

Three

read more

Backroad

pdf iconDownload PDF (32.0 KB)
p. 35-35

I remember that first whiskey kiss, desire clambering up the ladder of my ribs. My hair was wreathed in woodsmoke and the soft crush of leaves. I wore his flannel coat every...

read more

Commotions of the Flesh

pdf iconDownload PDF (32.6 KB)
pp. 36-37

To live in the world is to live in the body, that deepest heap of wants. To hell with the mind...

read more

Elegy for the Living

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.6 KB)
p. 38-38

There are no words in the slow language of grief, only hollow syllables in this long silence. We blink and breathe...

read more

Aubade

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.5 KB)
p. 39-39

Once again we stumble out of sheet tangle and the dross of dreams. Daylight comes in little sips over the lip of the bitter cup. It is enough to sustain...

read more

The Fugitive Eve

pdf iconDownload PDF (32.8 KB)
pp. 40-41

In the first moments of knowing, juice drips down her chin onto her breasts. Lips and tongue learn in this oldest, truest way. The fruit is round and radiant. The firm weight of it feels...

read more

Rhythm

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.4 KB)
p. 42-42

I trust the heart, little tinder box in my chest, the steady burn at neck and wrist, but what about...

read more

At Cather’s Grave

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.8 KB)
p. 43-43

Veiled in deep New Hampshire pine, you rest in a bed of mast and loam. A pilgrim from the plains, I’ve...

read more

Burning Back

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.8 KB)
p. 44-44

Once I was a girl with a truck and a tackle box full of jigs and treble hooks. We sat on my tailgate to watch pasture scorch, and he traced my bones—hip, thigh, shin...

read more

At Twenty-Eight

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.8 KB)
p. 45-45

It seems I get by on more luck than sense, not the kind brought on by knuckle to wood, breath on dice, or pennies found in the mud. I shimmy and slip...

read more

Epithalamion for a Maiden Aunt

pdf iconDownload PDF (32.1 KB)
p. 46-46

After the long, Lenten penance of winter, your forty-three-year fast is broken. The churchyard offers a fragrance that is like ripe fruit or...

read more

Jazz Rhapsody

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.6 KB)
p. 47-47

Wrap round that bracelet of song, each note a liquid jewel that lingers at the turn of a wrist— amber tone, jasper...

read more

The Wound You Need

pdf iconDownload PDF (32.1 KB)
p. 48-48

Piss drunk outside Port Arthur we pitched rocks into the bayou, wrecked its green stillness with every hurl. From the truck dash Janis, her voice full of tatters and ash...

read more

What Endures

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.8 KB)
p. 49-49

Over the seventh hill of Prague the sun tamps out and twilight’s net is tossed down. I hear the trees mutter their sparrow vespers as a sooty nimbus settles above the city’s statues. Cherubs garland cornice and...

read more

The Progress of Night

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.8 KB)
p. 50-50

In the late elegiac light, insects chide the frail contraption of the sky, its faulty system of pulleys and wires. Piteous stars circuit the stripped gears of galaxy as crickets keep grinding...

read more

Other Books in the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry

pdf iconDownload PDF (33.2 KB)
p. 51-51

Muse, Susan Aizenberg This Country of Mothers, Julianna Baggott White Summer, Joelle Biele...

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (43.9 KB)
p. 52-52


E-ISBN-13: 9780809388608
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809325986

Page Count: 64
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: Crab Orchard Series in Poetry

Recommend

UPCC logo
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access