Poetry: Maggie Dietz

Maggie Dietz is the author of two collections of poems, Perennial Fall and That Kind of Happy.  An alumna of BU’s graduate program in creative writing, Dietz is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.


Show’s over, folks. And didn’t October do
A bang-up job? Crisp breezes, full-throated cries
Of migrating geese, low-floating coral moon.

Nothing left but fool’s gold in the trees.
Did I love it enough, the full-throttle foliage,
While it lasted? Was I dazzled? The bees

Have up and quit their last-ditch flights of forage
And gone to shiver in their winter clusters.
Field mice hit the barns, big squirrels gorge

On busted chestnuts. A sky like hardened plaster
Hovers. The pasty river, its next of kin,
Coughs up reed grass fat as feather dusters.

Even the swarms of kids have given in
To winter’s big excuse, boxed-in allure:
TVs ricochet light behind pulled curtains.

The days throw up a closed sign around four.
The hapless customer who’d wanted something
Arrives to find lights out, a bolted door.



The ancients would lift
          a clay spout to your lips—
          water and honey and wine.

I give you milk, softened
          with wine, and swear

you’ll never hunger, never
          thirst while I’m alive.

What suffering I can’t preclude
          I’ll soothe with singing:

My future, for you

not the greenness of a leaf
          but of the leaves on all
          the April branches.

Fire, I give you fuel. I sweat
          and chop the wood.

I tender forever in you
          who begin where I end as if

your body is
          my body, your elegance
          my elegance.

Sustenance, emptiness
          is lack of you, yearning is

the road to where you are.

You are the road, the where,
          the song, the hunger. Child,

I give you sleep, I sing
                                       you there.