In Ann Arbor, I’d been known as “the Alaska guy,” which now felt like a pose. Feeling too Alaska for the MFA book-world had supplanted how much of my life I’d felt too book for Alaska. Maybe that was why I’d been unable to progress on my novel. I’d left this place, after all. Had I ever really loved it, or just the way it let me represent myself?
Each week I pried stones from the frog, ran hands over fetlocks.
Gold palomino, black morgan, a huff and a cirrus
of steam. Winter mornings light
muscled its way through the whitewashed boards.
When it was spring, we
pulled crawdads and salamanders
out of creek beds we dammed
with rocks and leaves,
thick as the swallow’s nest
in the corner of the shed.
I want to think about distance and Jane Gregory’s new book of poems, Yeah No. Or something more like gapping. A space between concepts charged with those concepts’ distance, what holds discourse together (and molecules, and planets).
As a toddler, I devoured reruns of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and even in the 1970s still occasionally saw the civil defense film Duck and Cover. It was an everyday occurrence to see the yellow and black signs marking the way to the nearest fallout shelter in schools, post offices, and stores. There was no escaping the Cold War’s shadow.