Robin Chapman: "Six True Things"




                                    -for Terrance Hayes


That poet whose father battered his way

into his mother, so that he can stand here now,

calling his lost father back to family:

who would abandon a child?


Mid-November, chipmunks still out

foraging sunflower seed. A sparrow

flies down the chimney, battering its wings.

I open the doors, set it free.


Next day it’s back, peering out of the glass.

And the next, and the next, possessed

by what failure or expectancy?

Still the long descent calls.

You out there: will you open the door?


Thirty whole dollars for four pounds of beets

so we eat retro creamed spinach instead,

equally weighted with butter and cream.


Gutters cleaned, mousetraps baited,

windowglass washed, the stovepipe

finally netted—

Will has readied us for winter,

but the grass shines green.


At midnight, I see a stone in the yard

move slowly downhill

following her pointed possum nose,

children curled in her pouch,

fastened to teats—butter and cream

is what they know.



Robin Chapman’s most recent book, The Eelgrass Meadow, was published by Tebot Bach in 2011. She is recipient of the 2010 Helen Howe Poetry Prize from Appalachia. Her work has appeared recently in Alaska Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, and Qarrtsiluni.