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by Linda Bierds

Go to:
An Audible Anthology
Poetry Pages

Also by Linda Bierds:
For the Sake of Retrieval (1989)
Windows (1994)
The Weathervanes (1996)
Safe (1996)

For warmth in that Swedish winter, the child,
aged one, wore petticoats hooked from angora,
knotted and looped to a star-shaped weave.
And for her father, there at the well lip,
she did seem to float in the first magnitude --
upright, far down the cylindric dark,
with the star of her petticoats
buoyantly rayed on the black water.
One foot in the water bucket, one foot
glissading a brickwork of algae, he stair-stepped
down, calling a bit to her soft cries, while
his weight, for neighbors working the tandem crank,
appeared, disappeared, like a pulse.
In bottom silt, the mottled snails
pulled back in their casings
as her brown-shoed legs lifted, the image
for them ancient, limed with departure:
just a shimmer of tentacles
as the skirt of a mantle collapsed
and a shape thrust off toward answering shapes,
there, and then not, above.

Linda Bierds is the director of the writing program at the University of Washington in Seattle and a MacArthur Foundation fellow.

All material copyright © 2000 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
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