27 March 2010 | Vol. 10, No. 1

from Wrack Line

Through the field I commit to small steps

and stay far from the lake             its cure

I have no illness for

Along the road         luminarias flare up momentarily

I run out of songs for the piano

which has been making sounds all night

connecting me to her past

like humerus swelled to the tune of frozen ground

a field turned flame and fern

in ink a weather unexpected

Wisdoms line the road

to the house Adrian's father credits

for her immunity to all diseases brought on by mirrors

In the house

her father would clean the windows

while Adrian steered kites

till they snagged in the lindens


her father speaks in steel and sand

An explosion of feathers

at the window         a bird having flown into it

readjusts in midair

Confusion among the bones

Into glass the bird repeats         socket

socket         Adrian sang

between the wind-torn canopies of trees through which

the rain thawed the puddle's icy membrane

Matter beneath moss and broken branches

Process of dirt

What surrender

separate from its body a feather

fastened to the window by what (it is not

blood) but love I call to describe itself

Adrian's hips draw the fire's heat

Twelve cords of marrow burn

One for each stone sunk

to the lake-floor         Its water

an embarrassment she hears in the window-glass

clever with excuses

Against the cool dirt

she is defenseless         The stones

she presses her groin into

The quarrel of her hands is blamed

on the cuff of her winter coat

She forgives the needle its primitive nature

Neither axle nor wrecked sign

she sees madness in asphalt

and expects good news from the candle

good light from the wick lit

with dried orange peels

pulled from the mouth of a night sweat

To claim a lost mitten at the lake's edge

she writes her name

on slabs of dead wood and torches

nests from trees

Their collapse

a waste of tillage

Smoke sutures the orifice troubled

by the dead

acting out their vertical feelings

You are a coin Adrian         A loneliness

feared most in winter

How do you sing Adrian         Is the water cold

like the panic leaves

Adrian you are the leaves filling your own mouth

like air in the lungs

but always it escapes as something else

Share with me your light from the meadow

Should you bleed I will not reveal the path of it

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About the author:

Rob Schlegel's The Lesser Fields was selected for the 2009 Colorado Prize for Poetry. His work has appeared in New American Writing, Octopus, Volt, and elsewhere. He teaches writing in Iowa City where is co-editor of The Catenary Press.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Rob Schlegel at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 10, No. 1, where "from Wrack Line" ran on March 27, 2010. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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