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  Angela Sorby
Angela Sorby
Angela Sorby is the author of three poetry books: The Sleeve Waves (U of Wisconsin P 2014), Bird Skin Coat (U of Wisconsin P 2009), and Distance Learning (New Issues, 1998); a literary history, Schoolroom Poets (UPNE, 2005); and co-editor of an anthology, Over the River and Through the Wood: Nineteenth Century American Poetry for Children (Johns Hopkins UP, 2013). She teaches at Marquette and lives in Bayview.



Paradise, Wisconsin



Angela Sorby
Mary Nohl's house
is hemmed in by flora

and fauna she fashioned
from hand-mixed cement.

For years she practiced
the art of continuous error,

wrong turns taken
so meticulously

they began to form peonies,
horses, and trolls,

all cracked and lumpy.
Now the vandal's task

is obscure: to ruin ruins,
to spray-paint stones

that take gang tags
so easily even such small

crimes feel impossible,
like flying. And yes,

the cranes come too,
down from Baraboo

to shit all over.
When they spread

their white wings they fail
to resemble angels—

they're too saurian, too clumsy,
but as they rise

in the summer dark
they knock loose

the abstract idea of heaven,
and leave it behind,

like a thug's tooth,
in Mary's concrete garden.


from The Sleeve Waves (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014),
winner of the Felix Pollack Prize in Poetry

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