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Reservation Math

Third Place 2013 Poetry Contest Winner

Draw a line to five, when Frank Bitsue
is hauling water from the well then count
his living grandchildren and divide them
by the ones who chased sheep into the rain.
Subract the crash. Add summers and sleep of
nine kids laughing in the truck's bed. Extend
your line at a sloppy angle to the
pickled sun, through his wife's glance, into the
velvet mines, down the green song of the black
calf and up the climb of time. Calculate
the rhythmic bell's ringing under this curve
then subtract water he spilled when the snake
comes home to his mother's ankle. She steps
off the page, into the lurching gush where
all things break apart and become other
things: where a quick and slow snake equals time
divided by time, a man equals red
toy trucks required by a boy but there is
no boy, I mean, no place for hopefulness.

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C. E. Perry is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop and Dartmouth Medical School. She spent 3 years working as a family medicine physician on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, NM, and now works and lives in Madison, WI. She lives with her family in a 109-year-old house. They are growing three times as much kale in their garden this year.

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Phone: 608.733.6633


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Phone: 608.733.6633 x25