Available from Jane's Boy Press:
Release Date: August 7, 2020
54 pages, paperback
D. Eric Parkison
D. Eric Parkison grew up in western New York State. He received his MA in English from the University of Rochester, and his MFA in Poetry from Boston University. He lives in Lynn, MA.
NOT ASLEEP, NOT AWAKE
In summer the one air conditioner
Is shared: you sleep on the floor
In the air-conditioned room. His silence.
His room. You wake because there’s a presence
Before he starts. See the curtain, the pale
Moon. Again, his breathing. Each inhale,
Pulls deep, like collecting burrs drawing a bull-nose plane
Along fresh boards of white pine.
Like pulling off soft strips of birch bark.
When he begins again, you cinch your breath
To his. Sleep, his dominion. His country.
You, at the edge of a cool wood. Go in.
-from NO ARCADIA
POTATO GRADER ELEGY
No engine. No belt-drive. Even then
Wayne county people wouldn’t spend
Money to burn gas. No: for a few blisters,
With a little muscle ache,
For a few dark mornings in the weeks after the digging,
They could do it themselves: no sense
In being wasteful.
We climbed down the hay-chute
Into the basement of the barn,
Dropped to the floor, straddled the manure gutter
Behind the stanchions, the water dishes
Rusted stuck on their pivots.
We crawled over mounds of clapboard:
Kindling for the winter, nails popping in the fire.
Simple. A hand-crank. The flat planes
Of the roller first kinked, then caught
The chain-link track, the conveyor.
I turned the handle. My little brother rode the belt,
Arms up to keep his fingers clear of the rollers.
Hopped off at the other end.
Baby reds and fingerlings would’ve fallen through
And gathered underneath.
Grade A’s would make it, be collected
In a rough sack, sold for little. The people before us
Knew not to want more than you can have.
He has been ashes for eight years. I never learn.
I like the things that keep me big:
Pizza, white cake, cold bottles of good beer,
Late conversations, little sleep.
He is where he is. I keep what I can.
- from NO ARCADIA