This week’s poem will set off some fireworks in your head. It’s full of surprise and thick syntax that makes its own kind of clear-eyed sense. I’d recommend you read it at least three or four times. It’s a wild ride, and the multiple readings will help you hear what’s being said, rather than just staring at the big red explosions in the sky.

An elegy is usually a poem for someone who’s died. In this case, Adrian Blevins gives us a poem for the tiny parts of herself left down south, where she grew up. Blevins lives near Waterville and teaches at Colby College.

Little Elegy

By Adrian Blevins

Winter’s no drag in Maine to me. More like

the big-fancy sister of the present tense

as in all up-to-date and forward-looking

and even vaguely avant-garde and insubordinate

like the sky itself can’t say what’s going to happen next

whereas back in V.A. the Jeffersonian troposphere

was always rusty and nostalgic like wagon wheels

and people in boots smashed at the hoedown

and despotic mothers making toy rabbits

with kids who won’t leave the country store

but must lean against the sides of things forever.

Winter’s back home I mean the weight and the weight

and the sad-missing vapor-mist weight-weight

of people everlastingly almost somehow passé

whereas in Maine for me at least it’s not

because I’m not at all from here as in I’m not

all that much really these days from anywhere

since by coming here I somehow left my little atoms

and proteins and other cells and whatever waters

somehow completely behind like a specter

might leave an old watch on her deathbed

and never know thereafter what the foghorn means

wailing all sopping and crestfallen like infants like that.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is Portland’s poet laureate. DEEP WATER: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2016 Adrian Blevins. It appeared first in CRAZYHORSE no.89 and appears here by permission of the author.

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