in the beginning the land lay crumpled and the air was full of tampered twigs; and between holes our feet, spinning with red yarn and clay. and the landless; and the fireless; and the small green seeds scattered faithfully across the grass, spindle and clatter
and the spoken
and the slurred
and the night was rampant, and flawed; and the fireflies swept through the darkness intent on thread and the beckoning dust
in the beginning there were stairs and wide floorboards, and she traveled with one hand against the tumultuous wall. and the dusk gathered its stems and came in; and the air was thick and abiding
and there were the signs of cotton
and between verbs our feet
the sky was of blocks and unyielding
and each limb laced with string
in the beginning the skies were fragile and misshapen, and our fingers followed the creviced logic of wheels against concrete. and the children stood arrayed by the grocery carts; and the meat was brought out in white paper packages; and the tar, sticky and bereft, left out overnight to dry
and the children were small globes, suffused with glitter and morning; and we rolled them between our palms, cradling the shapes of keys and the white throats of birds. and the carts rocked with clock and spilling, cradles and bottles and the stunted edges of wire; and the girls with rubber radio boots, stamping their punctured code
and we were not yet upon the windowsills
not nodding our heads in the aisles
Laura Walker’s most recent book, Follow–Haswed (Apogee Press, 2012), was created from fragments of individual entries in the sixth volume (“Follow-Haswed”) of the Oxford English Dictionary. She is also the author of bird book (Shearsman Books, 2011), rimertown/ an atlas (UC Press, 2008), and swarm lure (Battery Press, 2004). Her poetry has appeared in VOLT, Switchback, New American Writing, Thermos, and Fact-Simile, as well as other journals.
She grew up in North Carolina and now lives in Berkeley, California, where she teaches poetry at the University of San Francisco MFA in Writing Program and at UC Berkeley Extension.