G.C. Waldrep

Then I realized I had read too many poems
about pulling the dead from the living:

ragged cry of cow or horse or pig straining
against the inanimate flesh in its gut,

the human urgency, greasy hands
reaching deep into unimaginable places,

groping around, arms stiff against the creature's
useless labor, trying to hold on, trying

to bring out the fetal pieces already half-rotten
in the placenta's wash. Sometimes the animal dies,

sometimes not, and everyone human
goes home thinking about the change in life,

what great mystery approached
in the palm's proximity to alien heartbeat,

what small nation, vigorously defended.
But it's only the dumb rhythm of begetting:

with or without us that poor carcass
would have found the air. The same tall grasses

would grow in the rainy season. Late at night
we would still wake to find ourselves

shivering for no reason, no reason at all,
fresh from that hard dream of safety.

Short History of a Large Space

    G.C. Waldrep

Their first mistake: presumption of a pattern
forgivable perhaps on twinned branches of the Hoosic.
At least they never separated life from art,
in spring flood of cloth staining the current red
and orange and blue, coating the dull stones.
Electricity was the second elevation, a cleaner one
though no less transitory. Wealthy men built large homes
in neighboring towns, marble inlay, substitutions
for the vertical. Meanwhile it could get the railroad
for these workers.
Meanwhile it could be very fresh
and clean,
production of light for instance, near relative
to charge yet more abundant in this dispensation.
What we need is demolition of the horizontal,
approximating gauge while preserving compound surfaces:
a new raiment. Linking a clock to its true hour
which if inverted yet reaches toward the sun.

G.C. Waldrep's work appears in recent or forthcoming issues of Poetry, Ascent, Gettysburg Review, Many Mountains Moving, and other journals.

In Posse: Potentially, might be ...