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A Year or More

by Kerry James Evans

I was never taught how to blow my nose.
Your nose, my father tells me, is not your own.

I ask him what this means.
He replies, America.


I watch my wife pluck her eyebrows,
shave her legs. 

A woman loving herself
—what I never saw my mother do—

what my father would not allow,
young in his marriage.


America: first-class stripper with a space program,
bladed lawns trimmed to the sidewalk.


My wife knows nothing of stumps
—drilling the hole, pouring the gas.

Waiting. A year or more
for the corrosion, the eating of the roots.

She knows nothing of hooking that stump
with a hoe and pulling it from dead clay.


Kerry James Evans is an MFA candidate at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale, where he also teaches. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Court Green, Eclipse, Harpur Palate, Iron Horse Literary Review, Poet Lore, Southern Humanities Review, and The Spoon River Poetry Review. (4/2009)

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