Greg Rappleye
Agenda for a Cold March
I abandon a small poem and on a walk along the creek, find traces of another. Meanwhile, the war goes on. I resolve to say “crocuses of light,” because first, green crowns come pushing through the snow, then crowns render blue and give themselves to the sky. Yes, the drive is frozen mud and wheel ruts. No, the field is not lovely, not even in some fallen way, though for the dogs this is paradise; a field of heaven. Last night, I walked out with a three-year-old in my arms, my jacket so tattered I said, “This is my stardust jacket,” to point out the Milky Way, trailing from the Great Rift into Sagittarius. No need under such stars to note the owl calling from the wood lot, the ancient Ford still marooned out in the blueberry flats. All night, the house smells of cigarettes, of smoked fish and wintered apples. Before dawn, I am awake. The dogs begin a cantata of whimpers and toggled collars, shaking the tambourines of their great black heads. Get up, get up, the dogs sing. The time has come to sniff the dark and piss our dreams into the snow.

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Greg Rappleye’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, and other literary journals. His second book of poems, A Path Between Houses (University of Wisconsin Press, 2000) won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry. His third book, Figured Dark (University of Arkansas Press, 2007) was co-winner of the Arkansas Prize and was published in the Miller Wiliams Poetry Series. His fourth book, Tropical Landscape with Ten Hummingbirds was published in the fall of 2018 by Dos Madres Press. He teaches in the English Department at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.