December 1996

Root Page of Article: Going Into the Woods, by Christine Boese

Curving images overlap in place

What if I had stayed
hunkered in the Ozarks
while you fed your head,
let the land go as dry oatmeal?
If you had stayed
with your mushy metaphysics,
Magician? Your Thoreau was
a construction of his mother's
trips with groceries. You are
what you eat. I make it grow.
Who eats now, fields dull and heavy
with wilting wheat? You call and
I'm your rainmaker. You can't even
feed me. I ride on the updrafts,
hot, fiery dirvishes I seed
with dust and water. Some Great
Mother, eight dirty faces waiting
behind your skirts, waiting to feed
on your empty bounty, and me,
22 and honest, I come to serve
the image that swirls between us.
You conjure only vapor! Reflecting
water droplets, leftover smoke seeds.
You make a fiction, all is a fiction.
Go back to your Ozarks. This ground
need not grow; if it did, who would know?
Redeye ham fat browned into gravy,
spread over a biscuit, gray and sodden.
You had eight years to plant and build.
I come in on a fatback rain, hard drops
beading in fine dust, in tire ruts,
like interstate on a ridgetop, flattened
stripe of grass growing up the middle.
So send apocalyptic flood, go ahead.
I'll shake shaggy trees lush with late growth,
modeling vainly the wind. There, my
blue-black earth, deep as mud
in a drying ball field in Des Moines.
There, the West slides into the ocean.
Ho, my Empress. Where is your fiction?
Mother, you grow, vision lost in abundance.
What, for your children? What now, for you?
Nothing grows in rows, and even
your swirling pipe can't walk
a straight line. Beauty serves
its maker, lush resounding
fiction. I care little what it makes,
only that it grows.
By Christine Boese © 1996.

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