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Gabriel Gudding


This piece was first published in The Nation.


          "Senator (I have never lain with rubrics,
      nor am I among the indicted's
        swart date books: I am the anchorite's
      punched lips. Small-lunged boys
        who duck in the old beds from dogs
   have lain low in me;
  rabbits, I think, have bolted here
      who smell a cold hole
    in the fuck-all blurry middle
      of a life sprint. The ant
  comes to me for its mortar: I am the divots
        of the ballpeens, cane marks
      outside libraries. I fell from a tree planted on a hill
    of the earth's early ticker tape; I cracked open,
            a walnut of ticker tape. I am a tick
            in the hide of the book, seed
        of the monograph: Yesterday the dewpoint fell
  and a big fog issued from the comma -- meadows
    in the semi-colons filled with tractors, the plow's tines
      are made of me, as were the eyelashes
      of Elijah, fingernail moons
              of Coltrane -- my heelmarks
  are scattered in the mesquite tree, I was abused
    by cummings.
          The day the pennies pitched their tents
on the banks of the math books,
      I became their tent stakes. Queens
      have walked in me for I am
          smoother than a dashboard:
Jerusalem is just a booth in the heat, but ain't I
    the backrooms of Nineveh. I respect the oyster
      for being the grotto of a single mood -- cowry's arcature --
    but in me is a canyon filled with stones
  that are sweetly immobile, in me
  an old man's laundry
      sculls on the slantlight. I am a small girl's middle, suitcase
of the vivid poor -- farthest cousin of the thistle's tribe,
        having struck and hung on
      in this most drifting soil: my whole family was born
    in an un-neutral footnote
  and were taken out into the wire and weeds
    and were shot in the gravel; it is on gravestones that I am
      the cradle of years,
                  and) I have to say
        it's a pleasure
  to appear before you
        in this honored room."


Gabriel Gudding


Gabriel Gudding is a poet at Cornell University. His poetry appears in The Nation, The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, FlashPoint, Conduit, and elsewhere. He lives in Ithaca, NY with Irish poet Mairead Byrne. And he likes fountain pens.


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