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JoAnn Balingit

JoAnn Balingit was born in Columbus, Ohio, and grew up in Lakeland, Florida. She studied at Florida State University, the University of California–Irvine, Indiana University, and the University of Delaware. She is the author of Words for House Story (WordTech Communications, 2013). From 2008 to 2015, Balingit served as the poet laureate of Delaware. She currently serves as an assistant editor for YesYes Books and works with the Delaware Division of the Arts to coordinate the region’s Scholastic Writing Awards and Poetry Out Loud programs. She lives in Newark, Delaware.

By This Poet

1

Brandywine Creek Preambles


1. Be it known I was born in deciduous Forest though I appear to come from Sea.

2. In the year of my birth, billion-year-old Rock. Appalachia dapple grey.

3. I looked up at those loaves like a three-year-old met with giant mother’s naked ass. I watered her Toes. I ran and ran.

4. It’s good not to be dead I knew, in my own lap with the mourning dove.

5. Water drinkers hovered around me. Piedmont to fall line, grandparents to parents, coastal plain to marsh, my world of voices and sharp claws.

6. A high song spills from me and quiets never, not for Flood—

7. On summer weekends the city children the city children the city children ride their vinyl creatures down my Shoals.

8. I remember a chorus fell, old growth fell, white village growth, villagers’ low chorus with musket-fire, thunder-fire cloud crack, downpour, the People pouring blood. The Eagle’s white face and tail.

9. I am history of Moss and Temperature.

10. blocked bombed dammed deeded bridged diked drunk fished prayed-in swum dived-into dredged dreaded diverted disregarded painted sung splashed waded drowned-in longed-for      named      named        named

11. And more than once they set fire to my sleeves and petticoats. Jack in the Pulpit, Trout Lily. Mother’s crowns towered down, pinning each other across my slender back. I turned blue, like the Sky.

12. How is it I’ve become my own Mother? Sing in her treble voice? Take her mouth to bed?

13. At night the shooting Stars tack tulip trees to heaven.

14. Father, my Father, wherever you are there is always a body upstream.

15. History of fishing spider, shad, wolf, eel. Bog turtle, heron, peeper, bear. Our Salamander of the Wet Perpetua.

16. Always I am leaving home. Always I am coming home.

17. I looked up and the ash were back, both white and green, sycamores, beech, swamp maple. Oak, centuries of them. Last night’s rain dripped from their leaves onto my silver face.