Take me back where hag moths feed
on sweet gums, threshers crushing
wild grapes. Where fields curb
the slaughterhouse, tractors weighted
with wheat. Take me where cars
feed turnpikes, and bones break
down in their graves. Where roads pass
smokestacks; steel pipes scored on the lathe.
Apricots sleep inside branches
as the hunters slip deep into spring.
And a hog drowns in the culvert.
And the muskrat gives over its skin.
Where dirt calls to the ash roots,
the screech owl calling to rain.
Where a boy leans on a headstone,
pretending not to hear his name.
Bruce Snider is the author of two poetry collections, Paradise, Indiana, winner of the 2011 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize, and The Year We Studied Women, winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. His poems and non-fiction have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Southern Review, Ploughshares, Gettysburg Review and Ninth Letter, among other journals. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he has been writer-in-residence at the James Merrill House in Stonington, CT as well as at the Amy Clampitt House in Lenox, MA. He currently lives in San Francisco and teaches at Stanford University.