Kim Groninga

Sugar Maple in October

The air abuzz with my body: iris, eyelash,
navel, nipple--falls about you
in fragments of red and orange, golden yellow.
I am a handful of dust, ashes to ash.
My garments disintegrate into that which is dry
and crumbles in your hands; the members of my pith
and pulp, one by one, they jump and wish
that wishing didn't make it so. But I,
I am the tree and each felled leaf
unravels me--an arm, a leg, a lung,
a vein is pulled and I uncoil like a toy spun
slowly at first and then with a flourish of grief.
When I'm left with bare arms in the sky,
you'll gather my beauty and burn it away.

August Haiku

Clumsy butterfly
on the sidewalk. Your wet wings
are still unrolling.

Lines Written after Sex

How like a beetle I must seem
grasping you with appendages,
re-angling for better penetration.
How foreign to operate a body
that makes room for instead of puncturing.
How dangerous for you
not knowing how to hold on.

O Tree, Squished Pop-can-like
Onto the Canvas of My Yard

You are a shadow--
your hugeness reduced to two dimensions.
You are: hand without body
stretched tip to wrist across sidewalk & sod.

Maybe you're not a hand, shadow of tree
but I see the crook of two fingers
& one knotted knuckle bone.
See how you hold sticks like smokes?

The sun makes and re-makes you,
Shadow, and perhaps is the reason
wintered leaves bump & tumble
like popping corn down the street.

But the clouds! They are heavy for you.
They sink through those branches
and press you into the soil. The grass
standing by, pretending not to see.

Kim Groninga teaches in the English Department at the University of Northern Iowa and is the nonfiction editor of the North American Review. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and her first book of poems, "Other Things that Grow," is forthcoming from Final Thursday Press in 2010. Back in the 1970's, she and her siblings transformed their home's front porch into a mini-stable for a runt cow which her father accepted as payment for an air-conditioner repair.


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