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Prairie Schooner 80.3 (2006) 134-135

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Mineral Violence, and: Intelligence

Mineral Violence

The vast sadness of my family
is an ocean rehearsing its sorrow
against the intractable night.

By light we are careful, bruised and
beautiful as script, hair tangled
from evening's beating. We stoop

to inspect the night's debris
and do not recognize black
half-hearts of shell (that are ours),

wool of kelp. The jetty's battered
knuckles count the endless waves
rolling in. Watching birds drawn

as graphite on sky, we forget
our night deaths. I do not understand
this, nor our strange thick hair, only

that I am of it. Wheat of my mother,
father's beard of bees: I am their
provided. O mineral violence

release their salt traffic, their
hovering at sea. I will exist.
Give them what they want. [End Page 134]


I wake with a thirst for your body.
Stay in bed longer trying to create

it around me. What is intelligence
cast off into sea? I dive off some future

boat into clear green water, chanting
this is me, this is me. The bears asleep

in their distant winter charge the invisible
man again, and again, and do not wake.

Under the sea, I look up and comprehend
light spiraling out from a golden head.

Know I must reach it, but wait a bit
longer. In this water, I am absent, entire.

The spike driven into a fallow field
and forgotten, does not cower under

shrieking wind. With sorrow it seeks
the earth around it, its metal leaking

bit by bit, red and then black, and forever.

Quinn Latimer is the Art Director of American Letters & Commentary and lives in Marfa, Texas, where she works with the Chinati Foudation. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in the Paris Review, CutBank, Boston Review, and Phoebe.



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pp. 134-135
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