I & Thou
The pantry so cold winters the cooking
And the wind sweeping in underneath the kitchen door.
An Online Magazine for the 21st Century
PoetryBay.com, Summer 2000
Necessary to warm the pipes in the
Wastewater in the cellar every two years, how fast the trees grew
A bedroom built without a t-square,
You, and the books and papers accumulating around you.
Your rooms awash in words, who needed few.
The birds getting in, the raccoon, and one busy day a wall of
A cavalcade of roofers and carpenters.
A procession of dimensions: space, light and time, especially
The drapes closed summer mornings against the torrid sun.
Ice by the buckets-full, refrigerated fruit.
Crucial to suck the cool night air in with a fan, then close up
The worst heat and humidity wrapped us in torpor.
In the inoperable fireplace chimney, an abandoned nest.
The swifts fled from safe brick for the yard's abundance.
Years must have passed, where are they?
Our sons became men.
The high ceilings that spoiled us for caves.
The mortality that slept like a baby.
Marvin Bell teaches half
the year in Iowa City, IA, and also lives in Sag Harbor, NY, and
Port Townsend, WA. His recent books of poetry include ARDOR, and
THE BOOK OF THE DEAD MAN. A selected poems, NIGHTWORKS: POEMS
1962-2000, will be published by Copper Canyon Press in September,
2000. He is a longtime member of the faculty of the Writers' Workshop.
In March, the state of Iowa named him its first poet laureate.