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Meditation and Form

by Doug Ramspeck

A bird is flying
into the open mouth of evening

while our thoughts
crawl on their low bellies.

Even leaves are tongues.
Then a moon rises

inside this skull
of sky, the way a snake

can’t decide
if it is paper skin

or living form.
And if the moon claims

the world as its first thought,
as the primitive heart

I saw yesterday dangling
like a fist

from a tomato plant,
then the black water

of our bodies spreads
across the field

after so much rain,
full with thunderstorms

of temper and bad spirits.
Then a hoot owl’s voice

presses through screen
mesh when I awake empty

to this bed. Surely our moon
is a wagon stalled

in a great prairie sea.
Surely it rolled out

from a thousand acres
of ribs and flesh,

to pause its ghostly heart
between beats.


Doug Ramspeck is the author of four poetry collections. His most recent book, Mechanical Fireflies (2011), received the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize. His first book, Black Tupelo Country (2008), received the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry. His poems have appeared in Slate, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing and directs the Writing Center at The Ohio State University at Lima. (5/2013)

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