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  • Rachel Carson at the Deathbed of Mary Scott Skinker, and: Rachel Carson's Father Buys a Homestead
  • Jennifer Loyd (bio)

Rachel Carson at the Deathbed of Mary Scott Skinker

"Professor"—the ruby pleasureof calling her thatwhen you no longerhad to. She whoshowed you mothsthe size of your pinkie nail.How to diagramthe jaguars, raccoons,great northern bearsthat populated her course.To listenfor the girl leavingthe laundry each midnightsinging, her voice a shadelighter than the hour—a sonic inoculationagainst hesitation.Who let you confessthe vowels of butterflyin Russian, Spanish, Norwegian.Who pushed aside the paperson her desk and who said "Oh, oh"when she caught a fish.

The bottles by her bed—like a Galilean thermometerof drugs, many coloredliquids meant to assurethe eye, the old miracle [End Page 46] of suspension.(At any point, the state of medicineis less advancedthan it will bein a year.) Alsoby her bed,your last letter, with its"Stay," its "Love."That bald knowledgethat without herin this world to receivethe Ohs and Is of your desire,they might slipstream outuntil you are hardcarbon. [End Page 47]

Rachel Carson's Father Buys a Homestead

Winter, that great destroyer of a schoolgirl'sschedule. Outside—my father and brother break

ice, bank snow to insulate the barn. A fox cartwheelsonto its prey and leaves grow into mold.

School is closed and in the kitchen gloamI peel beets. Knobby globes,

red and warm, their brine glad to bleedacross my knuckles. I worry each root

into a fawn's heart and do strange, slipperymedicine on the epicardium. The truth is

if a girl doesn't return to school

(oh slide rules, oh high marks, ohticker tape of recitations)

if a girl doesn't return to school

no one will ask. Another truth—I hate peeling beets.I'll just slip right off, said no skin ever. [End Page 48]

Jennifer Loyd

jennifer loyd is a poet and the managing editor for Sycamore Review. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, New South, and Colorado Gardener.



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pp. 46-48
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