Goodbye to the Orchard: Poems

Goodbye to the Orchard: Poems

by Steven Cramer


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781932511055
Publisher: Sarabande Books
Publication date: 10/01/2004
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Steven Cramer is the author of three poetry collections: The Eye that Desires to Look Upward (1987), The World Book (1992), Dialogue for the Left and Right Hand (1997). Recipient of fellowships from the MA Artists Foundation and the NEA, he has taught literature and writing at Bennington College, Boston University, M.I.T., Tufts University, and in low-residency MFA program at Queens University, Charlotte. He currently directs the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at Lesley University in Cambridge.

Read an Excerpt


Love means nothing if it does not mean
loving some more than others
, Orwell said—
in his hatred of saints a hero of mine.
And this is how it is with love:

before he'd write "A Hanging,"
he spent months trying to describe light
angling through his blinds. And one day
he did. Over the next few days,

reading The Winter's Tale again,
I'll try and fail to keep my daughter
from replays of the soccer jersey billowing
as a boy drops into the SWAT team's arms,

two bullets in his brain. So afraid
of throwing up she only plays at home,
she trusts, at best, the germlessness
between the moment

she strips the wrapper off a straw
and the moment she puts it to her lips.
When hungry, she calls hunger
the belt that hurts her waist, thirst

a space that turns blue-green,
the color she loves best. Of the boy
who fell from the library window,
"he'll survive," I tell her. And he does,

unlike Mamillius, who whispers now
his sad tale that's best for winter
into his mother's ear, a secret we take
to be this play of jealousy itself,

which will kill them both offstage,

only to revive Hermione, but not her child.

That's the harm the play won't heal,

even as she wakes from stone, and walks

down to us; even as I overhear
my daughter whisper to her playdate,
sleep still unsettling her voice: last night
I didn't dream one dream. It was just black

Table of Contents

Throw Yourself Like Seed1
The House Once Identified as Paradise6
Morning Walk in the Orchard8
The Toughest Thing10
Queequeg's Ramadan14
Body on the Brain16
The Soul18
A Night Terror19
Draft of a Dream20
Goodbye to the Orchard23
Miracle Gro31
Life and Death32
At Shining Rock36
Everyone Who Left Us38
Partial Glance, Through the O.E.D.'s Magnifying Glass, at "Thing"40
From a Letter44
Will We Ever Find a Planet Like Our Own?49
The Dread Museum52
Of Late54
Prinsengracht 26355
A Basket of Eggs57
Starting and Ending with Sade58
Phantom Pain59
Sixties Couple, The Haight61
Lunch at the Underground62
Late Quartet63
After a Phrase by Jozsef65
Long Distance66
That'll Be the Day67
Word Gets Around69
It Is Night in My Study71
The Author75

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