Claudia Grinnell The 2River View, 6.4 (Summer 2002)
The Word From Below

It rests, this suburb, restlessly, cleansed
with hands and rags. Like the world
up-spindled in one afternoon,
like the garden before courage
became bent and limited.

A son-in-law reads the Sears catalog
to an old woman. Eight carats and seven stones
fly by. A count can afford such things.
Read on, young man, the page with the wristwatches!
Curiosity branches past the window

or the wall and listens: the station clock jumps
as if this means something. A young woman
washes her rust-red hair, rust-red water flows
into the basin, the pipeline sings. The woman twists
her hair. She, too, listens, this woman.

Apples fall into carriages, a head
is cleaved on the bridge railing, never grows
together again. Where was this station,
where did the son-in-law work, why
did the pilgrims come? None of the town’s pain

is my doing, but I am becoming used to it
like a hand learning its letters.

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