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Sample Poems by Marcia Hurlow

Hail Storm

The air should be white it feels so thick,
 or yellow-brown with the stench
 of tobacco curing in the cracked black barn
 rising over the field.  The clouds have closed
 my room, my house.  Even the yard is contained,
 so I rest under the water maple
 for the sky to break in rain.

 Ground roots align me with stars I can't see.
 Clouds thread through the branches,
 slip through the thousand eyes of the tree.
 Their thousand lights fade against the sky,
 then fast pellets of ice form and sort
 through the wide, darkening leaves
 but melt before they reach me.

 I pray for their bright
 sting on my forehead, or a stray leaf
 broken loose by the wind, or the earth's soft
 rush through the roots by my side.


The Music of the Spiders
    for Lawson Fusao Inada

Never mind why I have worked so late—
I put my head down on the table
to rest my eyes, when I see the spider,
a kleenex intaglio. I lift the edge
of the tissue to release him. He runs
like a night club singer to the spot
of light from my lamp. Then still. Is he
waiting for the band to begin? Then alive
with some inner trumpet, a luminous,
jazz-rhythm spider, frenetically blows
his cool lines, his silver licks, his spare
change high into shadow off-stage. Applaud
those jump-beat threads, those be-bop rays,
and oh, those sweet blue spaces in between.

Cows, 7 a.m.

This is the hour
they stroll out to pasture

painting a line
white and black, between

the crest of the hill
and the dark green cloud

of trees or the pale
morning sky. Their queue

slowly outlines
the edges of landscape

then erases itself
into the woods.

 Waking Up Lost

 Sometimes driving home late
 in Kentucky, I would come
 alert, the landscape clear
 and framed as a photograph. I wouldn’t
 know where I was
 though I drove that way daily.
 I might be outside Danville
 or just approaching Wilmore.
 The fields rolled, the barbed
 wire biting heavy maples the way I’d
 known them since childhood.

 In that loss and peace, if I said
 aloud my darkest dream, it would be
 healed. Jerseys would push
 their brown heads through
 the fences, the most familiar
 robin would sing something
 I memorized in grade school and
 I would be in exactly the right place.