May 2009

Regan Good


Regan Good graduated from the Writers' Workshop of the University of Iowa in 1993. In 2001 she was a Poetry Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. A chapbook called The Imperfect was published by Westown Press in 2005. A chapbook called The Book of Nature was published in 2009 by Ugly Duckling Presse. Her poems and essays have been published in The Paris Review, American Letters & Commentary, Lit, Fence, Field, Tin House, The Literary Review, and other journals.

The Ladder    

The wrought-iron bench spray-painted white,
sits at the mouth of the arbor. A ladder's strung up.

It teeters in the dark, knocking against the vines—

Headlights flash. An animal cries out.

The clocks have swung past the appointed time,
meaning the clocks have shrewdly kept going—

Ladder of aluminum.  Ladder of chalk.  Ladder,

struck up through the branches dripping with freeze.
Struck up and abandoned in warmer weather
when the hive of hellions murmured protestations—

(The fruit hangs tough as raisins—it scours and scratches
the aluminum ladder inside the delinquent vines—
The ladder rocks and sways and no one climbs.)

The house that owns this arbor is like a handless clock.
No one lives there though the shelves are stacked:
Pots au chocolat, Limoges, gold-rimmed demitasses—

This house in like a handless clock, but the ladder is a point in time.

The October sun is a cast horse prostrate on its iron back.
One sunflower wrenched its seeded head to stare.
The Connecticut evening raw, as if a fine, wet sand ground the air—

Wasps ghost the windfall.  Wasps ghost each pithed
and plundered ravishment, each fallen, sundry fruit—

One has stung me fierce despite the cold.

(I've heard in war soldiers will ride their horses to death,
    but drink their blood before—)

Their hive is like a house of paper.  

I'll put a candle to their order, watch their rations burst in flame.

They will rise in hatred and indignation, letting loose a thousand stings of retribution!

I'll watch their panicked sparks extinguish as they fly—



These Winter Gardens    

Winter crowns you.  You are glazed with ice.
This weather is for greyhounds.

Inside the willow with its profusion of whips,
the wickets have made a lantern of light.

The tight buds of beginning shine from their scales.

Dogs off their leashes, two greyhounds run circles,
taught on their ballerina legs.  

High up in the branches, what Heaven, what sky?  

This garden is a machine of moving parts.

Pinwheel leaves, a white-stone path leads one deeper,
past the stone bird bath and its dirty disc of ice.

My categorical imperative is:  live free from fear, yet still I am afraid.

The garden is deeper than we thought.  

(A winter wracked with headaches and head colds.)

Read until the shining skull duly shines—

(I knew the whole of his moving parts intimately.)

Wrapped in plastic garbage bags: bulbs, perennials, flowering fruit trees—

(Once knew the machinations of his moveable parts by heart.)



Regan Good: Poetry
Copyright ©2009 The Cortland Review Issue 43The Cortland Review