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Published: Thu Jul 1 2004
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas

The old Norse heaves electric heat,
and breaks its spines against the pane.
I want to pick and spear what’s difficult,
to nestle the space heater,
stay in bed renouncing Iceland.

After bathing, dripping on the carpet,
battened like a boat or animal,
I want to tame what’s mineral
and mine, a great vowel shift,

dry air across a lava field. How warm
that day would be.
The chrome bores on and once
you’re in, you’re in.

Valerie Duff is the author of the collection To The New World (Salmon Poetry, 2010), shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize (Queen’s University, Belfast). Her poems have appeared in The Common, Solstice, AGNI, The Antioch Review, Verse, The Prague Revue, and elsewhere and her reviews in Harvard Review and The Boston Book Review. Former managing editor of AGNI and poetry editor of Salamander, she has received an individual artist grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and was the 2015 Poetry Fellow at the Writers’ Room of Boston. (updated 4/2016)

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