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Rebecca Wolff

Born in 1967 and raised in New York City; Rebecca Wolff earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1993, and in 1997 founded the literary journal Fence.

She is the author of The King (W.W. Norton, 2009); Figment (W.W. Norton, 2004); and Manderley (2001), which was selected by Robert Pinsky for the 2000 National Poetry Series.

She lives in Athens, New York, with her husband and two children. She currently teaches classes for the New York State Writers Institute in Poetry and Creative Writing.

Rebecca Wolff
Photo credit: Sarah Shatz

By This Poet

6

Eminent Victorians

Half a day is dead already--
a lady with a baby in the shady graveyard
promenade not quite the idea
but the first idea to be impressed
so firmly--Grace to be born

in the
bisected quadrangle
stones propped insensible
but all in relation
to the babe.

Babe what suckles
babe what grows comfortable with thieves in a fertile
bed of unsaid
slice of eponymous
grafted to the reef

Hold my hand
in the undergrowth
waist high at your leisure cheerful
child of melancholy and displeasure.
Soft in the lap you grow

hard at the breast--Oh
under- and aboveground we go
to relieve us. Camphor
and cambric by the hand not by halves,
one turn more

will take us back to where we rest.
Baby is not baby when she
wears her oblong
freshet
I will take her home to rest.

Mamma didn't raise no fools

He died before we could honor
him correctly. Candied

impulse through the brain.
Your will subverted

that's a tree, a treatment,
a genealogy. Oddly enough if I need something

someone is sure to give it to me.
To supply me with it. Oddly enough,

it's not about cutting slack
but about positive reinforcement

Detergent in the sense that it is

emergent

deterrent
where the nascent

meets the latent
I put my tongue in the path

dug up some chestnuts.
"We'll keep looking

for a place for you
inside of nature"

I can't remember how I died.
Writing something down at the time

the grave had been disturbed.
Next thing you know, I'm making

an entry in my diary: No use
letting it get cold.

Visions of Never Being Heard from Again

I stopped by to see you but you were not home

marshland

the pure vision

my ancient lives all risen up and rising



shudder in my bed to come up against

a living religion; they get offended so easily;

blow up your hundred-foot Buddha

no problem. Entire mountainside.



Presumably it's an improvement

on whatever came before

on what was here before

ancestral crypt your daddy built; a grassy hill; a patchwork quilt;
     inadequately warming.

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