ISSUE THREE
May 1998

David Shevin


THE CORTLAND REVIEW

INTERVIEWS
 
R.T. Smith

POETRY
 
R.T. Smith
  Muffy Bolding
  John Kinsella
  Richard Foerster
  A.F. Moritz
  Miriam Levine
  Louis Armand
  David Shevin
  Stellasue Lee
  Adrian C. Louis
  David Sutherland
  Gregory Djanikian
  Paolo M. Bottigelli

REVIEWS
 
J.M. Spalding
  R.T. Smith

ESSAY
 
William Heath

FICTION
 
Douglas Thornsjo

David Shevin David Shevin is the author of several books (Needles and Needs, 1994 Bottom Dog Press) and has published work in numerous magazines over the years. In 1994, he won a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.
Baby in the Treetop    Read Along with the Author


Over spring turbulent earth,
some snowsquall from last month just now
steams its way back through simmering groundwater.
It catches quick breaths and takes flight
on its way to do havoc with the cirrus
clouds. A barn swallow trips on what once
was a snowdrift. He freezes momentarily
in fickle jet air. Cumin root
burrowing hungry in mudsoil
throws fragrant leaf to wing and to day star.

There on the roadside in the midst of a week
when it's too wet to plow, a tractor dog
startles at all the same bluster
alarming the stallion statue in front of the Dark
Horse Inn on 224 — he kicks hooves
at wild skies high over our heads.
There at that height but way out past
the field's edge, upraised in tight grove of ashwood
an outsized nest rustles in small, recent branches.
Some long gusting hisses right through the straw home.

Ah, nestling. How I want to take home
to my nest a bit of the gasp and the rush
of this moment. What a hungry, wilf life to be
born to this chaos, while mom's bringing in
the weevily bread. Lifted into that restless
buffet of wet sky and cold wind, your nest
just as storm-tossed as snow on the ocean,
what does the soul sense so shaken in branch
joint, so wistly the sky's noise, so splashy
the sap's run, and so close to God?

 

 

Gods peed    Read Along with the Author


Direct east, the spring road from Findlay
to home. And thinking of not much (of
meetings and bleatings) my eye caught
huge streams of bright flame, the hot orange
that's hellfire. Ah, firelight that butchers
and Buddhas in heaven shoot forth! Two story
farmhouse was blazing at ten o'clock angle,
just north of Flo's diner, perhaps a mile west

Where's a phone? Volunteers from New Reigel
could get out of gear and find the spot
pronto... then closer, the mask of illusion
burned bright. A whole lot of glass faced
to sunset, that structure. A blaze of burnt
ember saluted the west sky. This farmhouse
smiled gloating warm praise to the star.
This world was a safe one, and on the horizon

where gods peed the dreams of destruction
were folly. The gods peed on sarcastic
rulers who wrestled in suits, then smiled
big blue faces. And bellies. They weren't
foes, but twins. The gods peed on anything:
sad brains of rich folks, the luck of the poor.
They wet the alfalfa, made roan horses glisten,
disturbed and made ripple in pools of bog mist.

The sunset was blessing and blasting the soy crop
put risky in Cook's field in such soggy spring.
And I thought of the sunwarming housecat, or
evening shawl being warmed in the house of the sky-
fire. Before me were ripples of god pee
and road lines. Housefolks did what they did
after dinner. Maybe turn up the teevee,
get to the tool project, call the parents, or read.

I wished them safe passage, health, and godspeed.

 

 

David Shevin: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue ThreeThe Cortland Review