Winter 1993 • Vol. XV No. 1 Poetry |

Timberland

Paul's Fish Fry in Bennington, Vermont, is no longer Closed For The Season Reason Freezin. The umbrellas have opened over the picnic tables and the bees are beginning to annoy the French fries, the thick shakes and real malts of my past: I am thirteen thousand miles removed, on the delta of the Pearl River, eating a litchi. Its translucent flesh bursts in my mouth; shreds of it glitter between my teeth. I smile but the fruit seller is sour. In fact, he is so sour the only man on earth he resembles is Paul. But the litchi . . . Actually none of this has happened yet. I am nineteen years old. I am riding in the boxcar of a freight train hurtling toward Pocatello, Idaho. In a very dangerous move I maneuver my way back to the car behind me, an open gondola carrying two tons of timberland eastward out of Oregon: it is here I will lie all night, my head against the logs, watching the stars. No one knows where I am. My mother thinks I am asleep in my bed. My friends, having hea

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Mary Ruefle is the author of the forthcoming book Trances of the Blast (Wave Books, 2013), Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures (Wave Books, 2012), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has published ten books of poetry, a book of prose (The Most of It, Wave Books, 2008), and a comic book, Go Home and Go to Bed!, (Pilot Books/Orange Table Comics, 2007).

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