Nancy K. Pearson

When I broke through the woods I was clear

to the marsh. The frayed scrapes.
The lost tongues.

A foal folding on the water is how the light went.
“Necessary and momentary activations”

is what my cousin the ex-Guard says
about using a flashlight

after The Republican Palace became a US Embassy
before we gave it back.

At dusk, there’s the weft and the heap.
The birds trapped in a pant leg.

The reeds following the reeds, the wind-blown sheep.
Every idea we ever had

pushed out
on the bench press in his garage.


“Political” poems can sometimes feel reactionary, distanced, and fearful. This is not
the case with “Blackwater”. This is a poem of the deepest kind of politic: the politic
of the human dealing with an oftentimes inhuman world. Here sincerity is being
utilized as the muscle it is.
—Matthew Dickman, 2010 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize Judge

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