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Published: Sun Jul 1 2007
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Waking, Working

I came to on the ground. In my fist
a handful of indestructible earth.

Already then there was this idea
of work. The body moving like a scythe
over its broad gold day. I was alone
in the hot sun. I sat up, then stood up.

Tried to clear from my mind
the unparalleled power of the dream—to stop
and start again…further ahead,
already past the poisoned flowers.

_                    _Noon sun in the high now.
_                    _Near my hand was a trowel
_                    _and a little farther off
_                    _half a stone fountain.

Nance Van Winckel is the author of nine poetry collections, the newest of which is The Many Beds of Martha Washington (Lynx House Press, forthcoming 2021), and five books of fiction, including Ever Yrs, a novel in the form of a scrapbook (Twisted Road Publications, 2014), and Boneland: Linked Stories (University of Oklahoma Press, 2013). She teaches in Vermont College’s MFA in Writing Program and is visual poetry editor of Poetry Northwest. Her writing has appeared in the Pushcart Prize anthology, The Southern ReviewAGNIPoetry Northwest, The Kenyon ReviewFIELDThe American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. The recipient of two NEA poetry fellowships, the Washington State Book Award, the Paterson Fiction Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Gordon Barber Poetry Award, a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship, and three Pushcart Prizes, she lives in Spokane, Washington. (updated 04/2021)

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