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Afternoon 1

by Daneen Wardrop

Storm coming, I can tell by our cat
heading under the bed—giving the slip, little coward,
               and the smell—muted silver sizzle—

Boughs chase squirrels
                             before boom-box thunder,

woofers and tweeters perched in the western branches—

Cat eyes umlauts under my nightstand—

My family—the Colonel’s family—speak to each other
              with thunder on our sleeves,
                                             whiskers in our bellies—

          he      she      they      we
the body-still-warm pronoun—

When it comes, lightning’s dragon,

my daughter and I speak to each other raining hands.


Daneen Wardrop’s poems have appeared in Seneca Review, TriQuarterly Magazine, Michigan Quarterly Review, Antioch Review, Carolina Quarterly, and others. She is the author of two books of literary criticism, including Emily Dickinson’s Gothic (University of Iowa Press). Wardrop teaches American literature at Western Michigan University, where she is professor of English. (1/2005)

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