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A P R I L   1 9 9 7

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by Peter Davison

audioear picture Hear Peter Davison read this poem (in RealAudio).

(For help, see a note about the audio.)

Also by Peter Davison:
You (2000)
Best Friend (2000)
These Days (2000)
Falling Water (1998)
No Escape (1997)
Like No Other (1997)
"I Hardly Dream of Anyone Who Is Still Alive" (1995)
The Unfrocked Governess (1994)
The Passing of Thistle (1989)
The Obituary Writer (1974)
Gifts (1965)
The Winner (1958)

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Lodged against the mountain's collarbone
      miles above Provo when I was seven,
             my mother, sister and I

summered fatherless in a board shack
      whose door we hasped at night
             against the knock-knock of bears.

Eating out of a skillet, we lolled
      naked in aspen-green sunlight,
             felt timid only after dark

in the privy. Mine was the once-a-day task
      of retrieving, from a miserly trickle
             that welled from a seam down the slope,

our few gallons of water. After the spring filled
      I'd send a pail racketing along a rope,
             race it down a gravelly path

under the overhead clatter of the pulley
      and dunk it;
            then toil back upward

beneath its sloshing weight of water, vaster
      than you could guess, heaving it,
             consecrated, untouchable.

So words lunge upward
      till habit reclaims them
             and they tip into the spillway
             of a lie.

Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; April 1997; On Mount Timpanogos, 1935; Volume 279, No. 4; page 86.

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