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Waking, Working

by Nance Van Winckel

I came to on the ground. In my fist
a handful of indestructible earth.

Already then there was this idea
of work. The body moving like a scythe
over its broad gold day. I was alone
in the hot sun. I sat up, then stood up.

Tried to clear from my mind
the unparalleled power of the dream—to stop
and start again . . . further ahead,
already past the poisoned flowers.

                    Noon sun in the high now.
                    Near my hand was a trowel
                    and a little farther off
                    half a stone fountain.


Nance Van Winckel’s fourth collection of poetry is Beside Ourselves (Miami University Press, 2003). A new collection entitled No Starling will be out this year from U. of Washington Press. She’s received a Pushcart Prize, Poetry Magazine’s Friends of Literature Award, and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Recent poems appear in APR, Ploughshares, New Letters, and The Massachusetts Review. She has also published three books of short fiction, most recently Curtain Creek Farm (Persea Books, 2000), and is a recipient of a Christopher Isherwood Fiction Fellowship and the Patterson Fiction Award. She teaches in the MFA programs at Eastern Washington University and Vermont College. (2/2007)

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