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TOM MCAFEE DISCOVERY FEATURE Ruth Ellen Kocher Ruth Ellen Kocher is this issue's Tom McAfee Discovery Feature poet. Her work has appeared in several magazines, including Gettysburg Review, Antioch Review and African American Review. The Tom McAfee Discovery Feature is a continuing series to showcase the work of an outstanding young poet who has not yet published a book. The prize is funded by the family and friends of Tom McAfee. PRINCIPLE /Ruth Ellen Kocher Archimedes eats an apple and writes again. The volume of water displaced by a body is not equal to what we assume the mass of that body to be, but aU the simple Umbs, the ribcage, the fingers spread out in ripples. A sixty-pound girl would fill two buckets if she sat in a tub, filled to the place where porcelain lips to a curve. This girl is impatient, hair spUled over her eyes. Perhaps, somewhere, she is expected. She hurries. A crayfish, a rock, foot sUding in a stream, the splash forking her leg. She is the dream of a man, a long beard, dropping pound weights into vats of water, the overflow caught in tins and weighed, measured, spilled again. He hesitates, barefoot on granite, pools of water swelling the dead skin on his toes, pauses in the draft running over him, but finaUy throws the last weight upward, as he might toss a child, a smaU girl into a pool, arcing the body first toward the sky where form blackens to shadow, eyes committed to memory, the nose, the ear immersed in deep water loss of the whole. The Missouri Review · 73 THE FIRST MONSOON /Ruth Ellen Kocher —for A. K. Last week in Mostar, the fields were emptied. The shot cows stiffened on their round backs, balancing sky on the cleft angle of their hooves, a sky that, aU the whUe, sent clouds into blue corners. This is not the story of a woman in love or a girl who wakes beside herself at 8:00 as the desert already enters her room. Yes, a spine of ivy does rake the sun into splinters that spell a name, then twist shadow into a girl, but her mouth is dim and blind, comfortable with closeness and being, fuU of her tongue. The farmers kUled outside of Travnik did not know that today, the first monsoon would tear the palm fronds into fringes while I heard you breathe long vowels of mourning. I have lied again to tell the story right. Imagine the Umes which are green but not ready to eat. The first fiber under the skin could be stone, could be the grey promise of another long season, the acacia already spent in heat, the air waiting to break in thunder over the brown backs of migrants who've caravaned up from the south. They hang lanterns on their ladders, work the opal-deep dreams of their children, fiUing baskets suspended on their hips, remembering with one orange the smell oftheir grandmother's robe, with another, the coffee for lunch, remembering words swaUowed with wafers, wine, with each orange layer peeled back to fathers whose cigars were sweet-smelUng, the lover whose name has drifted into another grove, the wife, her hair rich with mines and lemon. They don't know the high peaks of Alaska where the glaciers recognize your posture, cold against the cliffs. 74 · The Missouri Review They don't know the day of three mornings and one dream, and three wakings which has brought you here to my house, to my peppers hanging and the piano holding my whole life in frames with faces smiUng as though they know something we should know of the women leveled this week in their gardens near fresh winter radish. In a pond near Mostar, three geese have found a way to Uve through the sUence aU around them. They are waiting for the United Nations' trucks to bring them corn and white bread sent from America. They are waiting for the summer and the end of the summer when they leave and wait to be found by an accident of direction, by a fluctuation of wind that began...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 71-82
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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