May/June 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 3 Nature’s Nature 2020May 1, 2020 |

Chester, Illinois

Cloud piles on cloud; keel scrapes sand. Coal dust drifts from a rusty barge, the river full of silt, field soldered to field, even the light heavy. Far from the sea Popeye reels along a gravel road with an oar against his shoulder. On Swanwick Street, the rare tourist en route to somewhere else ruminates on myths displaced. Rough House cooks an omelet as patrons trade in cattle futures. The first stirrings before a storm stroke the wings of the Whiffle Hen drooping in sleep on a porch rail as scrapings of “Harvest Home” drift down from windows of the opera house in flurries of rosin. Far from the sea, far from its whip and precipitous glare, a floodplain streaked with rills condenses the leaden light. Travelers from vast spaces or truckers in a turnout check their instruments and test infinitives against each hole and hollow: to spend the day in a rain barrel, to scour the kitchen clean, to curl beneath an olive quilt, an ember under ash.

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[Introduction]

By David Baker

Cloud piles on cloud; keel scrapes sand. Coal dust drifts from a rusty barge, the river full of silt, field soldered to field, even the light heavy. Far from the […]

By Stephanie Burt

Cloud piles on cloud; keel scrapes sand. Coal dust drifts from a rusty barge, the river full of silt, field soldered to field, even the light heavy. Far from the […]

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