Thursday, February 3, 2011


(NGC 4452)

Every Thursday, I post a very large photograph of some corner of space captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and available online from the picture album at HubbleSite, followed by poetry after the jump.


by Debra Allberry

No mountains or ocean, but we had orchards
in northwestern Ohio, roadside stands
telling what time of summer: strawberries,
corn, apples---and festivals to parade
the crops, a Cherry Queen, a Sauerkraut Dance.
Somebody would block off a street in town,
put up beer tents and a tilt-a-whirl.

Our first jobs were picking berries.
We'd ride out early in the back of a pickup---
kids my age, and migrants, and old men
we called bums in sour flannel shirts
smash-stained with blueberries, blackberries,
raspberries. Every fall we'd see them
stumbling along the tracks, leaving town.

Vacationland, the signs said, from here to Lake Erie.
When relatives drove up we took them to see
The Blue Hole, a fenced-in bottomless pit
of water we paid to toss pennies into---

or Prehistoric Forest, where, issued machine guns,
we rode a toy train among life-sized replicas
of brontosaurus and triceratops.

In winter the beanfield behind our house
would freeze over, and I would skate across it
alone late evenings, sometimes tripping
over stubble frozen above the ice.
In spring the fields turned up arrowheads, bones.
Those slow-pacing glaciers left it clean and flat here,
scraping away or pushing underground what was before them.

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