Publication Year: 2009
Winner of the 2008 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize
“[Edward Micus’s The Infirmary is] a rarity: a mature debut, a first book of poems with time-tested virtues. . . . Unlike many of the Vietnam poems written at the time of the war or shortly thereafter—poems of anger or protest—Edward Micus’s poems are composed, in every sense of that word. They delineate and measure their subjects; they do not advocate or hector; they do not sentimentalize. Many of them, like ‘Ambush Moon’ and ‘So We Shot,’ will take their places among the very best war poems. . . . The Infirmary is a book that keeps deepening its concerns. For all its early charm, it pretties up nothing. Yet it’s not without humor, and its prose interludes are written with the same care that the poems themselves exhibit.”
—from the foreword by Stephen Dunn,
Judge of the 2008 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize
Published by: The Kent State University Press
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Edward Micus’s The Infirmary is masterfully arranged and paced. Its first section is comprised of poems that have a certain midwestern charm and emphasis on the local, which appeal but do not presage the darkness and gravity that will follow and accrue. ...
I: Just Visiting
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In a co-op. Off Nicollet Avenue in the middle of the block, in a co-op with a yellow awning and a canary in one window. I had only stepped in from the rain, my life clipping along just fine. This small shop, crammed with everything ever grown or dried, from avocados to herbal tea, and between the squash and new potatoes ...
To Steve, After Reading The Pyramids of Malpighi
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These are hard times, friend. Can hardly get the music in. Oh, my blood’s keeping time, making its laps. It goes about, busy as thought, doing what it’s supposed to. It’s the old woman in me, full of spit and rumor, who sits and spins and stirs the same old pot. ...
Part II: Waiting Room
Trash Receptacle Voice, Kentucky Fried Chicken, 403 South Broad, Mankato, MN
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From overhead, the door gunner’s 7.62 millimeter round entered the base of the boy’s neck, crisscrossed the body, and blew out the rib cage even as the boy crumpled into the mountain stream that ran down the draw to the valley floor. ...
Part III: Ward 3A
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Her hand on my wrist awakened me—1, 2, 3, 4—my pulse at her fingertips, then her fingertips were between the gauze and my flesh, her other hand at my back. “Try to sit up,” she said. “There. Now cough.” ...
In a Room Somewhere in the North of Nicaragua
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Because the woman was of your age and lovely as any of us, and had little notion of the rebel cause or coup, her thoughts mostly with her son, the four-year-old, where he might be, if they would force him to put the revolver to her head, ...
Part IV: Lower Level Morgue
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There was a quiet knuckle on the door. And the deputy sheriff in his silver and browns, standing in the doorway with his death face on, so that the doorway made a picture frame. “Gretchen Nolan?” he asked her. He was too small for the wide-brimmed hat. He took off the thing and held it in his palms ...
Regret to Inform
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When she came to it, at the very moment perhaps, of his dying, on the muddy slope of a hill there would never be a name for, or when it came to her—small difference for mother or boy—she picked his T-shirt from the rag pile, soft from the washings, her foldings. She had shrunk it somehow, ...
So We Shot
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We liked to shoot things. Boys being boys. We shot flying and crawling things and swimming and walking things. We shot birds and parrots and gulls and beautiful things we didn’t know the names for. We shot monkeys and gibbons and lemurs and deer and pigs and dogs and turtles.
Page Count: 72
Publication Year: 2009