Some Version of Late Peter Oppenheimer Up in a Four-Corners Area Loft, Ginger and Sophia Below

The hayloft doors were wide as they’d go and the shining
snow on the ground outside crowded the barn ceiling
with projected light that rose into those inhabited rafters warm

against the slotted wind pouring frost like a hard mist
through chinks between the back wall’s warped planks. Shining I
entered—ladder, trapdoor—to bow and scrape among my old shivering

shadows: myself against the wall, self thrown careless across
many pale prone selves dead along the granary floor. Self
squared, baled, divided, reached, consumed by the beasts lounging

red and speckled in the dark down there. My father would have
loved this: the glare, the sheer Wallace Stevens “Projection
A,” “Projection B” Sheeler modernism of it, that math/

myth/mmm/mothlight something. But he never saw it. He
was wrapped up with his Key West crew and Jersey intelligentsia.
I got out of all that soonest and to stay. But don’t think I don’t still hear,

through the snow’s quiet, boom as of the breakers crashing, boom
breakthroughs long since, hear shades in ancient conversation
flicker war through our heavy air like sound motes. Fork

fodder down to the cows and wince at my too-bright dream of him. Work
myself out, myself loose, my—Ahem, ha! the dust! ha! That’s it, then! Hum.
We’re finished here for now, ladies. Coming down.
Hack myself free of him.

John M. Anderson teaches at Boston College. Featured in both Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, he has new poems in Poetry Northwest, Spillway, Tuesday: An Art Project, and Crazyhorse –plus a canyonland chapbook, Dictionary Quilt (Pudding House, 2007). His manuscript Alamos: A Chain Reaction is a ghost story in verse about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb.