Deborah Bogen: "Dakota Schism"


In Sunday’s mirror the red barns

fade, high school girls rub rouge

from their cheeks, the prize bull apes

a deacon’s sneer, crickets choir like

cherubim. Only the grasshopper

carries on, spitting and sawing,

spitting and sawing as the preacher

calls us to The Upright Life.


But in our mudrooms lovelorn women

kneel to scrub the dirt-smeared floors

as through the window comes

a sable light Vermeer would love.

In our cellars, votive rhubarb,

on our stairs, a velvet dark.

Therefore, the Aunts dally in the parlor.

Therefore, the Uncles loosen their belts.

We have been another week behind

the reaper. Only God’s a pillar.



Deborah Bogen's recent book of poetry is Let Me Open You a Swan (Elixir Press, 2009). Her chapbook, Living by the Children’s Cemetery, was chosen by Edward Hirsch as the winner of the 2002 ByLine Press Competition. Her first full-length collection, Landscape with Silos, won the 2005 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize and was released by Texas Review Press. She has been published in numerous journals, including Shenandoah, Gettysburg Review, Georgia Review, Margie, Poetry International, and Field.