Summer 2000


Marvin Bell


1. I & Thou

The pantry so cold winters the cooking oil froze.
And the wind sweeping in underneath the kitchen door.

An Online Magazine for the 21st Century Page 4, Summer 2000

Necessary to warm the pipes in the little bathroom.
Wastewater in the cellar every two years, how fast the trees grew roots.

A bedroom built without a t-square, askew.
You, and the books and papers accumulating around you.
Your rooms awash in words, who needed few.
The birds getting in, the raccoon, and one busy day a wall of bees.
A cavalcade of roofers and carpenters.
A procession of dimensions: space, light and time, especially time.

2. They
The drapes closed summer mornings against the torrid sun.
Ice by the buckets-full, refrigerated fruit.
Crucial to suck the cool night air in with a fan, then close up tight.
The worst heat and humidity wrapped us in torpor.
In the inoperable fireplace chimney, an abandoned nest.
The swifts fled from safe brick for the yard's abundance.
Years must have passed, where are they?
Our sons became men.
The high ceilings that spoiled us for caves.
The mortality that slept like a baby.

Marvin Bell teaches half the year in Iowa City, IA, and also lives in Sag Harbor, NY, and Port Townsend, WA. His recent books of poetry include ARDOR, and THE BOOK OF THE DEAD MAN. A selected poems, NIGHTWORKS: POEMS 1962-2000, will be published by Copper Canyon Press in September, 2000. He is a longtime member of the faculty of the Writers' Workshop. In March, the state of Iowa named him its first poet laureate.


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