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by Nance Van Winckel

: 3 p.m. mercies of high tea, high
holy days, and midnight illegal smokes
on a balcony. By the slipperiness of our dead
and a streetlight we’d shoot out if it
weren’t already shot. By a black Mercedes grinding
into a wrong gear. By Out-of-the-City one day
and Into-It-Quite-Deeply the next.

Traveled & trafficked, holed up and let loose,
we’re here as fireballs, there as tapped-out beats
on a telegraph. By Nothing To Do vying with
Everything To Do. By special dispensations,
no-guts no-glory, Quaaludes, a ménage a trois,
and stories we’ve messed up and passed on. By stars
loose against our tight flesh. By rowing toward
the end of a dream. By vast black harbors, and before them,
by the vertical spirit slamming into the horizontal sky.


Nance Van Winckel’s fourth collection of poetry is Beside Ourselves (Miami University Press, 2003). Recent poems appear in APR, Ploughshares, Poetry, New Letters, and The Massachusetts Review. She's also published three books of short fiction, most recently Curtain Creek Farm (Persea Books, 2000). She teaches at Eastern Washington University and Vermont College. (6/2006)

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