G.C. Waldrep

Amity Hall

The linen eggs, exalted in their pelts
now tranquil & quiet
heel & ransom, the invitation
slowly unfurling its brass wings—

brother-Salt, I am a foundling
& every unclean earth
shares the garment of my womb
they pluck the hands from the boughs

of my bridal thought,
they wash them tenderly in flame
for my star’s promises sake. Shame
eludes its usufruct, its cataract,

it flees into the desert to bear
the weight of children in its old thirst
Let my body be a snare
to the snarers, a crown of water

for the trees to dandle.
I am ready to treasure the Master
& the Master’s amaze-
ment, as the animals refer to all

that is contemptible to the body.
Let me be a gentle neighbor now
to those who come in ships,
who paraphrase death’s cold mercy

Ballade for Hands

you asked—I said
the flowers were lungs—
lilacs, peonies,

dental strata
of the hedge-rose—

children blooming
in the body’s
compact masonry—

offspring of oxygen
& meat—

attar of cosecant
I said—

we build
houses with them, I said—

limbic nectar—

bugloss, skullcap,

womb or recompense—

buoyant, luminous

touch this ashlar,
ransom, this silk psalm—

gcwaldrepG.C. Waldrep’s most recent books are The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral (Ahsahta, 2012), co-edited with Joshua Corey; and a chapbook, Susquehanna (Omnidawn, 2013). BOA Editions will release a long poem, Testament, in 2015. Waldrep lives in Lewisburg, Pa., where he teaches at Bucknell University, edits the journal West Branch, and serves as Editor-at-Large for The Kenyon Review.