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Record for a UF thesis. Title & abstract won't display until thesis is accessible after 2099-01-01.

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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022145/00001

Material Information

Title: Record for a UF thesis. Title & abstract won't display until thesis is accessible after 2099-01-01.
Physical Description: Book
Language: english
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Creative Writing thesis, M.F.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Thesis: Thesis (M.F.A.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Logan, William.
Electronic Access: INACCESSIBLE UNTIL 2099-01-01

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022145:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022145/00001

Material Information

Title: Record for a UF thesis. Title & abstract won't display until thesis is accessible after 2099-01-01.
Physical Description: Book
Language: english
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Creative Writing thesis, M.F.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Thesis: Thesis (M.F.A.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Logan, William.
Electronic Access: INACCESSIBLE UNTIL 2099-01-01

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022145:00001


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LIVING WAGE By HAYDEN ROSE DRAPER A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF FINE ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008 1

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2008 Hayden Rose Draper 2

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To Rachael Johnson 3

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Above all, Id like to thank the poetry faculty fo r their talents as teachers and writers. In particular, Id like to thank William Logan for his remarkably generous attention to every draft of every poem, Debora Greger for making me look more closely, Sidney Wade for her contagious enthusiasm and delight, and Michael Hofmann for his succinct and unsparing eye. Thank you also to my classmates and friends, who have offered me so much support and guidance, not to mention crucial edits, over the pa st two years. Not least, I thank my entire family, who remain the best thing that ever happened to me. 4

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................7 CHAPTER 1 LIVING WAGE.................................................................................................................. ......8 2 NIGHTMARE.................................................................................................................... ......9 3 ELEGY AT CUNNINGHAM POND ROAD........................................................................11 4 KITCHEN VIEW, AFTER ARGUMENT.............................................................................12 5 DEMENTIA..................................................................................................................... ......13 6 AT SOMEONES PARENTS HOUSE, SOME YEARS LATER........................................14 7 DAWN......................................................................................................................... ...........15 8 END OF A MARRIAGE, WHI LE TOURING CAPE BRETON..........................................16 9 ROOM AND BOARD............................................................................................................17 10 RECONCILIATION.............................................................................................................. .18 11 A NURSE AT FIRST MANASSAS......................................................................................19 12 SMALL TOWN SISYPHUS..................................................................................................20 13 GREEN CHRISTMAS...........................................................................................................21 14 PRISONS..................................................................................................................... ...........22 15 INVITATION TO ERIK, AFTER HIS DEATH....................................................................23 16 REGRET...................................................................................................................... ...........24 17 GRETELS PLAN............................................................................................................... ...25 18 THOSE WINTER PARTIES..................................................................................................26 19 ARTAUD IN NEW ENGLAND............................................................................................27 20 BLOODLUST................................................................................................................... ......28 5

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21 TRAVELS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.......................................................................................29 22 FOR L.K., WHO WILL NOT RECOVER.............................................................................30 23 CABIN FEVER................................................................................................................. .....31 24 END OF THE DRYWALL SEASON....................................................................................32 25 PICKUP GAME................................................................................................................. ....33 26 THANKSGIVING AT MY GREAT-UNCLES HOUSE.....................................................34 27 END TIMES................................................................................................................... ........35 28 SECOND GROWTH..............................................................................................................3 6 29 LUCKS END.................................................................................................................. .......37 30 ELEGY....................................................................................................................... ............38 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................39 6

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Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts LIVING WAGE By Hayden Rose Draper May 2008 Chair: William Logan Major: Creative Writing The following poems explore landscapes both re al and imagined. A good portion are elegies. Most owe a debt to the intimacies of sma ll-town life, even when set elsewhere. Love, Carlos, tellurian, spent the night with you, and now your insides are raising an ineffable racket... --Carlos Drummond De Andrade translated by Elizabeth Bishop 7

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LIVING WAGE This is the belly of town. Ive returned for what I can get: bar work, beer-fueled confessions. Mostly I lie on the couch, watching pine forest crawl up to the locked French doors. Even after years of such summers, Im shocked by the damp mouth, how it needles with shadow. Tonight Ill go to one of those house parties thats been burning for the last decade. Its there I can surrender, too. When my old flames so many of them, so much the same! ask me what Im going to do Ill say nothing Maybe hard labor again, the way they taught me. Theres something wicked in those ivy-poisoned fields that keeps July from dying. 8

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NIGHTMARE When the old man died, I hid him in the refrigerator to forget, covering his eyes with waxed apples. As for the moon, rising above my door? It didnt exist. As if for the first time, I sat at a table eating: the very opposite of an angel, burdened only by the things of this world. 9

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VAN EYCKS ARNOLFINI PORTRAIT She loves a somber tone, if anything: his cloak, raw umber, darker than the oaks, the opulent dull red of winter silk. His hands the proper mirror for her face that tunneled glass behind, shes come to hate for how it twins the room in glittering waste. The nobleman who stands inside the door has often pressed agains t her, tried his tongue inside her ear. He says her husbands dull. Its true, but shes grown difficultshe thrills to quiet rooms, and twilight spent alone. Shell never crave the no ise of reveling men or lick spilled wine-drops from a glass again. Each day the oceans permanent green light escorts her husbands merchant ships to port. Each day, she sees him off, returns to bed and slowly peels an orange, gloating while his footsteps fade along the dawn-dark hall. 10

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ELEGY AT CUNNINGHAM POND ROAD Memory has gills, external organs: crush them and the flame begins to die. Down in the long pond-grass, a green pickerel hovers, held in place by translucent fins. Each fall, I return. The highway winds round the cemetery toward chilly dusk, your old accident marked out on the tar, moonlit, separate, silent as the fish waiting out the days heat beneath my oar. 11

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KITCHEN VIEW, AFTER ARGUMENT From here, youre only a rake leaned against the garage: with every gust, you disappears in a blizzard of leaves. I turn away to face the kitchen wall, the dark orange cupboards, a book of matches with the heads ripped off. On the counter, an imprint of his thumb is preserved in coffee and engine oil. I scrub black treads from the diamonds of linoleum. Sometimes, I even wash your daughters mouth-print from the plastic cups, and collects the tubes of lip gloss tossed everywhere, like change. When I stoop to rescue the book splayed beside a splintered table leg, its Rimbaud: Your mad heart goes Crusoei ng through all the romances. Cold bars of sun travel the room by slow inches. Sometimes I witness these illuminations: a spit-cleaned harmonica, th e tongue of your filthy boot. 12

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DEMENTIA My grandmothers face floats from the kitchen: frozen like the mans face in a sea-high moon. Her once familiar floor is flecked with stones. Every holiday is now a meditation on this strange disease closer to death than death. This year, the fields lie naked. From a car window, I watch mist shiver off frosted husks like steam rushing off clean dishes. 13

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AT SOMEONES PARENTS HOUSE, SOME YEARS LATER Eighteen months out of rehab, Kev sits in the kitchen, high again. Theres plenty of time left for mistakes, a lifetime; and no one knows it better than I, leading you upstairs to a chilly bedroom through the acrid smoke, the glares of the same bored girls. Heres the same torn screen I leaned against at sixteen, shirtless and smoking, thinking I could walk onto some street somewhere and disappear. In London, I callused my hands pulling pints and changing beer barre ls in the cellar. Alone in that catacomb, I braced my sneakers against aluminum. Downstairs, Ken taps out his bowl on the table. Theres laughter, the whip-crack of foil. Look at the moon, how its new again. Even your marble skins no different. 14

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DAWN This was at the end of our first love affair, on a dirt road in the mist, no view but forest. The aproned figure of a woman approached us, slowly, till we saw the red dirt that stained her dress, her shoes without laces, her silver, ratted hair. A white bucket knocked against her legs, filled halfway to the brim with mushrooms. She grimaced and passed into the fog, creaking with fatigue, hauling our sl eeplessness toward morning. 15

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END OF A MARRIAGE, WHI LE TOURING CAPE BRETON Ive lost your features in the moonless dark. Its June, but when the gas-lamp shivers out the wind is bitter. The b itter leave their mark. In empty parking lots, our lust was stark as Meat Coves blue-black sea. Was there a doubt? Ive lost your features in the moonless dark. Now only envy can relight the spark. Your fingers tug my hair, the pins pulled out youre bitter, and the bi tter leave their mark. No Gaelic joke, no sailors bold remark can fortify our will, or halt a drought. Ive lost your features in the moonless dark. Outside the tent, mist licks the silver bark. Inside we roll apart, hoarding our doubts, still bitter. And the bi tter leave their mark. Tomorrow, youll look past me. Well embark for Halifax, our mouths and shoes worn out. Ive lost your features in the moonless dark. Im bitter, though I rarely leave a mark. 16

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ROOM AND BOARD We were nineteen, driving to Cape Breton and someone had a friend named Benny. We stopped driving at Vermonts tip: long hills of grass, and wind-smacked spruce poking up like bruised thumbs. His mother made iced tea, handed out scissors and we went upstairs to help cut pot plants. Heat-swelled clouds approached the window; and fenced dogs howled at passing pickups, the spray of spat-out dirt from big tires. The sticky leaves fell from his mothers blades in handfuls. Later, I passed out in the prodigals bed. Hed vanished one night weeks before, tramped away into mist, that white spruce ether. I didnt see till morning the bird-wing on his desk, wholly intact, ripped from a living body. 17

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RECONCILIATION I see it all as if we never parted, as if that butcher knife never flew past my head and cleaved the kitchen clock. That was madness. This time Ill go to the garage, pound the hammer and saw to silence. While you kick in your sleep, Ill roll the huge stones o ff the flatbed one by one, like extinguished star s thudding the lawn. As for the pecan trees and military bases, the barfights bloodying your faceforget that happened. Just be the kid kicking meth for good in a cheap motel. I can love that skeleton. 18

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A NURSE AT FIRST MANASSAS There was no time to carry off the dead. In the rout, our soldiers broke and ran I dropped a boy into grass and blood and ran too, till sweat chilled my dress. Back at last in the stone church at Centerville, I pried bullet-burned flesh from torn coats, tenderly at first, then drunk with the urge to finish. All morni ng the mens cries advanced then retreated in a glittering wave, like the gold grain at harvest in fields I could no longer see. They put their hands on me, grabbed at my dress to plead for their deaths. I let them. I thought wed arrive in heaven the same astonished way: perfectly ruined. 19

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SMALL TOWN SISYPHUS Come summer, come fall, I kept going up that road under a dry moon. The maples, enormous and gray, sheltered coyotesa sudden, close yelp making me shove my hands in my jeans and walk tough, though anyone could see the bruises like leaf-prints at my throat, could bend close and brush their crushed veins. What was up that road? The only party in town. Id shotgun beer in a flame-bright garage, then drift into an un-mowed field till I saw steam rise off the earths shoulder and the moon brim up with water, open finally pupil-wet and shining. I stood, waiting for his hands to surprise my ears, his knees to buckle my knees. 20

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GREEN CHRISTMAS For years hes been tired of work. Like anyone, he has a wife and a clean tableclot h, a spit-polished fork; but he wants a reprieve, however brief from the poison-laced apple of another day. Boredoms the thief who stole his happiness in Japan theres nothing like poverty to keep you loyal. He went back home to Marianne, made partner, bought shares in oil. So much was the same: moss-banked highway lanes, the winter sun whitely cruel, dead swamp oaks crowded like sardines into the blue skys empty bucket. Even Floyd passed over, leaving the yard pristine; but in mirrors our heros stil l Steve McQueen, and likes it. This Sunday, he prays it wont snow, so he can visit his girl in Nantucket: skinny legs, seventeen, ha ir black as a crow. In high heels she taunts the gas-station clerk, spins back to him, blind-drunk, in adagio. 21

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PRISONS after Austens Mansfield Park 1. Portsmouth I used to wake with my wrists tied to the trees, the pale sky pulling me out into dark aisles of oaks and shrubs, iron gates soaked with sun. Now I lie under a torn blanket, walls so thick the salt smell cant come through: just dirt and fog, the rotted bellies of old ships. 2. Mansfield Park There was a night smooth and cloudless, the stars flicking their little tongues over trees made invisible. I could see black fists of leaves wind-tossed along the hill. E. and I sat by a window, our views filled separately with sky. M.s eyes were empty, But she had a harp to play. 22

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INVITATION TO ERIK, AFTER HIS DEATH Come back now as you were at fourteen, that first night on Temple Mountain wrecked under a picnic table, cradling a fifth of whiskey. The rest of us put on our skis and raced away. You giggled behind us in the dark, overjoyed. Come with us one more Saturday, to one more party: the barn and the beer, the bored kids gulping whippets. Lean against the worktable, head bowed over chainsaws and scattered nails, quiet as always. Tell me, when did risk become habit? Did you ever shudder in the airless instant before we veered off-road? Saplings snapped under our tire s, like bones in a bad dream. Afterward you lit a cigarette, and smiled: Prometheus resigned, ready to be picked clean. Come back now, with your stupid generosity, your lighter-charred lashes, your short stabs at sobriety. Come for your father, anyway, that sweet salesman who made you endless offe rs of a better life. 23

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REGRET The red stars welted your skin when all you wanted was a shred of moon. A bald haiku, one cherry blossom dropped in a well, curled in a question mark. 24

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GRETELS PLAN The first time the bitch kicked them out, Hansel stole a pack of smokes, fed them to Gretel one by one down at the gas station while they hung around waiting for midnight. But when Hansel started selling crystal, they got kicked out for good. It was winter vacation and some folks left their houses open. It didnt take long to find a big one on the mountain under birch and pine. Gretel stood on the porch, gauged miles of deadlight from the woodpile to the smoke lines rising from town. It was far, far. They hid well: no dogs, no cars, just a footpath through snow and leaf-mess. A small town doesnt mind its own business Gretel waited for their luck to fail. That day, she hiked the mountains lost trails, let snow-clouds swallow her doubt. Below, shouts bloomed. A faint moon chalked the sky all morning and all afternoon. 25

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THOSE WINTER PARTIES after Robert Hayden Sundays Id wake with soot-dusted skin after sleeping all night next to a woodstove and stumble over a dozen bodies splayed like the frost flowers on each window, thin-stemmed and fragile. Outside, our parents trudged from barn to house, and revved reluctant pic kups, their bright coats flickering in the pines that ringed each homestead like a pack of wolves. Id been in those yards, sunk down the night before into th eir snow driftsglamorous, blue-cold, my tongue witl ess in a hard kiss. Smirking and young, what did I care for works crowded and hearth-warm witness. 26

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ARTAUD IN NEW ENGLAND The hissed winds sear Monadnocks peak and the swamp-frogs bruising keen ends at cool forest, the empty laugh of black water. Each hill is sugare d with brightness. He misses the dirty fog-cloak of Paris, the blasphemous paint on Balinese boys. Hes tried to forget his madness, become a Puritan: cold livered, clean. He shivers in dark wool. The sun sets earlier now than when he came: some night-birds cool whistle chasing the entrails of pink clouds. 27

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BLOODLUST Samson planted his elbows on either side of her face. Delilah pulled and sighed. Samson threw his black hair across her eyes. Delilah dreamed of an enormous hill covered in poppies. Samsons sweat was bitter and slippery. She saw a furrow, a river, sun-scorched skulls. He said, Your questions are killing me Delilah turned her head away. The sweat on her face ran like tears. Then she was ready. 28

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TRAVELS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE If when at first wed met, wed had the will to launch a boat across the kettle-hole, perhaps we would have brought a pole and hook. Instead we stood on boulders close to shore and watched the giant bass swim darkly in. We stood in freezing water to our waists, as if through glass we saw each fight-scarred fin. You loved each warrior g lint, each lightless eye. Our trips were always brutal, in the sticks, our castle the flumed mountain, cheap motels that lined the Kancamangas in the fall. Youd ditch the truck whenever possible and stalk the trail behind a dream-glimpsed moose. I lagged behind, my feet caught in the bloom of scented flowers, a fungus curled corpse-white. I begged until you stopped the useless chase. Back home we swam the kettle-hole again. All night, the fish moved through usshining, cruel as all our resolute but cash-poor plans. Now that youre gone, I hardly ever swim. 29

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FOR L.K., WHO WILL NOT RECOVER When I think of the men Ive known, I stop and think instead of the women. The women whispered softer, more injurious things. Their bodies were lik e hills after rain; one and the same, they rolled open under the moons metallic light. Its all one color: the bedspread, your thighs, your corn-silk hair. Our silver tongues, when we tricked the other girls away. My headlights expose birch trunks and raccoons at the factorythe same beautiful mutes. Id forgotten you, too. Half asleep this morning, I counted the towns I could drive through without ever leaving back roads, and it was too many. 30

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CABIN FEVER Pleasure is all there is, You say violently. I know, trust me. Youd leave me for a mouthful of radishes, knife-cleft and sweet. Like hooves rinsed clean, they clutter my sink. Its trivial to say we are all animals. 31

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END OF THE DRYWALL SEASON Another rainy day you cant work, another booze-up at Yen-Yen the only bar where you can still smoke and bask in the wa iters helpless grin. You drink Mai Tais, some girl at your knee: glossy hair, thick fingers, loud. Youve known her since birth, probably. Shes seen how you run the crowd. Leaning in, she touches the stone-dust streaked in your Carhart creases. You show her where your hands busted, and ask about her baby nieces, all the time thinking November. It wont get better from here, and you cant afford another bender. You need to cut the shit, order a beer; but the Mai Tai is so sweet, the drenched cherry, and the way shes running down like an engine, chatter dying slowly. Youre still playing the clown, while under the bar you grip her leg so hard it twists her face. You smirk, ease up. You never have to beg. All you ask is temporary grace. 32

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PICKUP GAME You walked ahead of me into the house, my palm on the small of your back, your white shirt soaked. It might have been any day after gym class years ago, wood smoke roughening the air of low country. 33

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THANKSGIVING AT MY GREAT-UNCLES HOUSE Id clear away the rain-musty coats, and lie on one twin bed, feeling the spreads crocheted rosettes beneath my chin. There was the slight sensation of choking, a state not of prayer or sleep, but simple weather: voices like leaves scratching the walls, unruly wind licking the eaves. Electric candles stood unplugged in each window, the awful oil of St. Sebastian nakedly taking his arrows. 34

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END TIMES I wake at three and sweat out the details: your small house sunk into field grass beneath purple clouds, your skin smooth as a water-licked stone. That summer, weird storms kicked up from nowhere, and kept us indoors for hours. Water poured straight off the pines, and smacked the glass, crippling your roadside garden. We swam in the scent of smashed roses and rust. Afterward, Id follow you outside to rake up bruised petals, feeling the stone walls close around us, the rural highways blooming with mushrooms and salamanders. I barely breathed. I was beginning to think fertility had nothing to do with goodness. 35

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SECOND GROWTH On viewing the photos Tiergarten, Berlin, by Rineke Dijikstra, and Paradise 14, by Thomas Struth, in the Harn Museum of Art Casual viewer, I see you begin to stare. Walk closer, off course, toward the girls (no older than twelve) taut and leaning at the edge of some dark wood. This birch-ghosted park cant be seen as anything more than permission to reveal purity like a peeled twig. Youve forgotten the sore-armed hours in the lake, and how, stubborn as an old horse, you refused to come out of the water or back away, afraid of seeming soft as the moss-choked trees in the photo further down the wall. That landscape may describe you now: your heart sprouting ferns from the mud, the low stream. 36

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LUCKS END How many rain-dark streets have you walked since I left you, how many unthinking steps through Covent Garden, past gypsies and Punch and Judys, while I sit at my desk, unmoored, watching noons light silver the old maples? In which internet cafe, orange-walled, overpriced, did you compose this email; and were you thinking of our trip to Covent ry, your hometown? The low clouds and looming factories frightened me more than the junkies youd slept with at seventeen. My love, you were happier than me. What a mystery so I thought at twenty, waking up from the thick country of river and pine. I wish youd walk across it now, with your pack-a-day and pint of Guinness: not a clown, not outclassed, not anything of mine. 37

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ELEGY for Bud Zahn I had to hear the words twice. Then I went back, back to driving past old barns rich people display on back roads: yellow barns newly painted, raw barn s left to silver in the sun, the orchards behind them stripped of apples by Jamaicans once each year. Back to my great-uncle, who walked his own fields daily, sizing up balsam and scotch pine till the weeks before Christmas. The day after Christmas he began again. Even in summer, wed shake off water by climbing through pines till the scent stung our skin, holding our towels in one hand, watching the heat shimmer over knife-sharp needles. Our parents in the kitchen below, full of biscotti, coff ee and too much cream, were saying, I shouldnt but I will, sternly at first, then laughing, going back and back to the sugar bowl. And always, the dirt road unraveled under rain-blackened trees, white sky between the branches like a shocked face 38

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Hayden Draper was born in Peterborough, New Hampshire, in 1980. She received her B.F.A from Bostons Emerson College in 2004. In the grand tradition of writers on book jackets everywhere, she can claim employment as a wa itress, secretary, landscaper, cashier, movietheater cleaner, tutor, and teacher. 39