Tuesday Apr 23

RamspeckDoug Doug Ramspeck the author of six poetry collections and one collection of short stories. His most recent book, Black Flowers, is forthcoming from LSU Press. Four books have received awards: The Owl That Carries Us Away (G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction), Original Bodies (Michael Waters Poetry Prize), Mechanical Fireflies (Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize), and Black Tupelo Country (John Ciardi Prize for Poetry). Individual poems have appeared in journals that include The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, Slate, and The Georgia Review. He is a two-time recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and is an associate professor at The Ohio State University at Lima.

Notes on a Long Marriage

We formed the decades from abandoned
wasps’ nests and the hundred
trains that passed in the nights

beneath fluctuating moons,
and we slept inside our dreams
that slept inside our bodies,

and some mornings we walked
the dog while oval clouds
turned blood-red along their

underbellies, and there were names
for the flowers we passed and names
for the animals whose paw prints

we saw dotting the snow, and names
for the beggar skies and for the hammock
hours that carried us.


The boy carries the dead hornet
that stung him. Carries it inside
a rotting leaf. The black and yellow body.

Here is the small ghost,
cousin to the discarded snakeskin
he saw once cleaving to the bottom

of the chain-link fence. Earlier he studied
the bodies gathering at the hive.
Studied them crawling one atop the next.

Here is the messenger of origins,
this thing that multiplies
and dreams. The one that stung him

is mangled now. He swatted it
to the grass, crushed it with a shoe.

Five Omens in Seven Days

This is what I remember:
the fertile light giving way

to fractured stars, the sky
lowering into signs:

the dark line of poplars
on the horizon, the brooding

fields. And I remember dreaming
one night that you were the dust

swirling along the fence line,
reaching for me then whispering

hush hush. And in
the dream I asked you

to forgive me for ferrying on
without you.