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Annie Finch

“Feeding the Admiral’s Pussycat”

An excerpt from The Encyclopedia of Scotland, Section 4, published by Salt Publications, PO Box 937, Great Wilbraham, Cambridge CB1 5JX, United Kingdom. On the Internet at
Phone: +44 (0)1223 882220; Fax: +44 (0)1223 882260.

There’s something about last times
that’s so silent, that covers the eyes,
that’s so tender, that tenders thee forth,
that aches the lawns and covers the back of the garden
that dries the wood and opens the voices of doors that are
                                            calling us in as we leave you again
that dries the wood and loosens the voice of the porch

“Tell me a story,” the old singer called,
tell me about the shadows of the green green grass
or something
From my trap I was so impatient
they were calling me from the blue singer
with wooden mock, tree mock they were mellowing
and devastating all the ruddy rocks I had dove off and worshipped
                                                          and returned to, making a wind out of
                                                      them, drowning my feet.

Heart’s tooth I said humbly
the monastery orange
sings at the foot of the stairs

*              *              *              *              *              *              *

Oh I hated each tread and each riser
Never hated anything so much.
Each blue trea. Each red riser. Each lichen-licking yellow metafour
                                                                                                            Up up up up
                                                                                                    nwod nwod nwod nwoD
Each rustling lickeling my crotch and each moth after all those sheep

First times are easy, a grand silver sadness loosens the mane, but
last times cover the fingers with soft new down, stretch us then
cup us in and Empty! Empty! Just in time to say goodbye

Make things of such beauty you make all you have,
bursting light, like a sinew of beauty
stretching to burst, like the lamp
of a culprit that sleeps
in the night, a dark lantern that eats, like a cow
coming home.

*              *              *              *              *              *              *

I no I’s nothin nothin but an I
and I know there isn’t nothin that I wanna have
till the cars are coming down for my good bye.
Oh my darling I am coming I am here right now
I don’t even need the sighing of your hand
I am all I ever was and all I want to be
I am here and nothing comes to me no mor

It’s raining.
It’s not raining any more it all is sunny,
it’s the sunning of a property that stands.
It’s the place
of ecstasy waving by the birch.

Annie Finch

Annie Finch.
Photo: Glen Brand.

Annie Finch’s books of poetry include Calendars (Tupelo, 2003), Eve (Story Line, 1997); and the performance poem The Encyclopedia of Scotland, completed in 1982 and published by Salt Publishing in 2004. She is also known as a translator and librettist; her translation of the complete poems of Renaissance poet Louise Labé is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, Early Modern Women Writers series. Her collection of essays, The Body of Poetry: Essays on Women, Form, and the Poetic Self was recently published in the Poets on Poetry Series from the University of Michigan Press. Finch earned a BA from Yale, MA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston, and PhD in English from Stanford, and is now Director of the Stonecoast low-residency MFA at the University of Southern Maine.
You can read a review of Calendars in Jacket 26.

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