Issue > Poetry
Rob Shapiro

Rob Shapiro

Rob Shapiro received an MFA from the University of Virginia, where he was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize. His work has previously appeared in The Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, River Styx, Blackbird, and Pleiades among other journals.

Photograph: Animal Cemetery in Winter, 2012

                          Wayland, Massachusetts 

    I sweep the stones to read the names, the prayers,
to train an eye to cracked markers and river shoulder.

    From here, morning light sharpens everything,
collides into canopies and bare branches of maples

    whose shadows fall into the dark marsh, plunge.
Some nights, I dream I still live back here: packs of goldenrod

    trampled in fields, chickadees chirping, my sweat
the sweat of a boy still learning how to follow

    orders, settle down. I'll dream myself back
to this spot surrounded by the dead wet leaves

    turning to dirt, entering the earth like rain-worn bones.
Wind rakes the river, endless in its bed, leads me down

    this path towards the flurry-hidden furrows
and slip-covered cold, the foothills fixed behind me.

    Again snow sifts down and brightens the graves—
the current carries all it can, hauling even the sky downstream.

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