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"The Ground, Which Is Only Heavy Wind"

Melissa Kwasny, Mary Austin Speaker
Milkweed Editions

The women of the interior prepare themselves for pain by igniting small piles of fir needles on their wrists. I, too, want to age in the mountains, though all my life, I have avoided the extreme. When I turn away in public from the women with white hair, I become less public presence. To stumble on time: the biographic tradition, rift in the concrete I hit with my boots. I have been traveling away from home. I must return to it. Buffalo are the animals women were taught to emulate. They take care of their young. They mate for life, not like the deer, who are flighty and promiscuous. What causes the winds? I thought I knew until today when I distinctly felt them as earth's breath. Hours of shade, grass flattened by early snow, everything tending toward heaviness or lightness. What would we do in this big house alone? How could we possibly keep it?

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Melissa Kwasny is the author of the acclaimed poetry collections The Nine Senses (Milkweed Editions, 2011) Reading Novalis in Montana (Milkweed Editions, 2009), The Archival Birds (Bear Star Press, 2000), and Thistle (Lost Horse Press, 2006), which won the Idaho Prize in 2006. She is also the author of Pictograph, forthcoming in 2015. She is the editor of Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry 1800–1950 (Wesleyan University Press, 2004). Widely published in journals, including Willow Springs, Threepenny Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, Bellingham Review, Crab Orchard Review, and River Styx, she was recently the Richard Hugo Visiting Poet at the University of Montana and a Visiting Writer at the University of Wyoming. Kwasny received the Poetry Society of America's 2009 Cecil Hemley Award for a series of poems that appears in The Nine Senses. She lives in Jefferson City, Montana.

"The Ground, Which Is Only heavy Wind" was published in her 2015 collection Pictograph.

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