Winter 2004 • Vol. XXVI No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2004 |

Let Me Remind You You Are Still under Oath

Out of marsh out of the bronchial tree limbs out of low clouds we grow up to be President, we emerge as nurses or green grocers or red lips waiting for a cigarette. From the lagoon beside the postcard meadow under elk- antlered skies we are raised to a flame in a streetlight. Arterial dust mites. A gnat's death banged out by the New York Times. From the Why-hast-thou and the We'll-be-back-soon, through siren wail and bird call we step up with our sticks and stigmatas, our forged documents. We mature into the foxtrot and cha-cha-cha. Past the Dead End and Deaf Child signs and out of the valley's huge cowbells we evolve as hammers chisels sprung traps. We ring up the Colonels of Parks who call friends who've just dredged the Erie Canal and are en route to zip open Panama but can meet us for a moment with our paper sacks and pitchforks. They accept our potatoes. From woodlands. From bobcat bellies. Over downed fences. Out of ashes and owl eyes shining we are passed on with a B- by Mr.

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Nance Van Winckel is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently Our Foreigner, winner of the Pacific Coast Poetry Series Prize (Beyond Baroque Press, 2017), Book of No Ledge (Pleiades Press Visual Poetry Series, 2016), and Pacific Walkers (U. of Washington Press, 2014). Find her at

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