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  Juliet Patterson
Juliet Patterson's poems have appeared or are forthcoming
Juliet Patterson
in American Letters &, Commentary, Bellingham Review, Bloom, Conduit, New Orleans Review, Washington Square, Verse and other magazines. Her first book, The Truant Lover, was selected by Jean Valentine as the 2004 winner of the Nightboat Poetry Prize and was published in March. She lives near the west bank of the Mississippi in Minneapolis.


Juliet Patterson

In the weeding eye, it can
rain. Sleep.

Yes, comes a measure marked
Spring, between river

& Sound, in the speed-up

to spare the number of lakes
in Wisconsin: mallards

flying in the expansion of a singular

disturbance flying nowhere.

Our words stuttering down a ball-
point pen where it snows

& no one can see how
at home I am with my white shoulders.

I built my house to my desire

shaving the outer surface of its urge to wince,
kissing the ache from my lips

that were before winging my hands

tick-tack little wind
strips, without reading, without


Here's the underwater sneak rout I found through Bull sluice,
my heart of whip-stitch & trest,

muddy runnels.

Fire on the other side.

The eye-white, sky
of river kissed.

Maybe another way of saying,
I built my house to my desire.

Pines above the shingles.

Star-like, flame,
my hands & the river sluice hinging

an open door or bed.

Simply the river quicker than rock, a house &
the old cracked boat

-hulk, trees where I pass till a star
shows its gone when it snows.

Eye & knocking heart can bless
the hulk dragging estuary.

The tree-line giving way

to only motion, only speech.

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