Poetry | wisconsinacademy.org
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First cited in the sixteenth century (specifically in a book called Dice-Play), the expression [brown study]—which describes a state of intense, sometimes melancholy reverie, really seems to have hit i

of the need for lyricwhispers and fingertipsbehind my earlike a distant melody

of dappled water that flowswhere tulips opentheir soft petals spreadinglike a morning yawn

At the birth of a third daughter, on the eve of world war,my grandfather refused to look at heror come in from the barn.In that old country, deepwithin my newborn mother,in my invisible ovary home,

        Tell me     Grandfatherdid you ever        try to scrub outyour dark                   Mediterranean  skin          your Camelsoriginal     Napolitano     tongue

My sister doesn’t do sad.She tried it on a few times,   different styles, different sizes—   nothing quite fit. Either too loudor too dark, too tight or too baggy, she’d say.

It was that summer19 years old     I lived alonefevered with independenceefficiency apartment on Summit Avenuescratch cushions     pull-out couchGoodwill dishes     my boyfriend and I

                        By age three everything’s in place.There’s a closet for storing languagewith all the nouns and verbs on hooks and hangersknowing their places, who comes first

I rummaged around in words all day,changing this one, discarding that one,snipping, pruning, and adding, a gardenerworking in a field of meaning flowers. 

You think the elements know the difference between the inanimate and us?

See through these words, colors,movements, measures   See firstgreen shoot, see roots taking hold

and up at the source, seefissure in the ground, seeclear cold water, a spring 

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