in the antediluvian island
in the primordial swamp
Hardwood was already my friend

The porcelain basin of memory is black
I spit down it brushing my feral tooth.


‘A double? oh really badly’

I have a
double a self I can’t stand

I was discovered by primordial Columbus
and became his land?
Cliché says Hardwood.


Wanting the real
and as a dream is a dream
I try to remember something:
the trees at Blythe
at night, going home
inside the steel cab of a pickup,
road lined with athol trees. salty, drab.
Home gone to feels empty
a little shakily and that’s
more like a dream than a memory.

No I want real and dreamed to be fused into the real
rip off this shroud of division of my poem from my life.


I am a reflex an E for effort
(what I can’t stand)–

equal to a shroudperson.


Eating eels near the Loire I learn to slither
not between poles but being the one pole the river.


Now that I’ve visited an étang
I always had visited one–
I knew these swamps when the stars.
An island of Sumer, no dead other
dark woman or enemy-maker.

From Grave of Light (Wesleyan University Press), by Alice Notley © 2006.