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by Heather McHugh


Don’t knock my dish.
I hold it dear, unincidental

at the household’s entryway: there is
intelligence in its half-

cocked concavity. No fixity of
whereabouts: and no direction but the shifting one

from whose beyond the next
known jolt could come.

Not homeless, just never at home,
just always out to lunch, just always in the head.

Soon enough I’ll have to see
real soil, real sand, real loam, real loess, real lee—earth’s ditch at large

where even shake’s unsure. Just go
in my loo, just creep

in my crapper, from which
the whole

damn world looks pure.


Heather McHugh teaches as a core faculty member in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and as a Milliman Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her most recent book is The Father of the Predicament (Weslyan University Press, 1999), and she and her husband, Nikolai Popov, are currently translating a book of 101 poems of Paul Celan to be entitled Glottal Stop, due out this fall. (2000

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