A Country Known to Prayer Alone

The night is old as sand.
Underneath lie cities

where people sang ballads,
passed platters of oysters

and frescoed the loggia.
Our nerves are twanging strings.

Sleep like a dredger scrapes
the room where our feet stare

and sift new positions.
Wall, chair, bed edge. Coffee?

the nurse asks. Water?
Sleep detests a vigil.

Sleep yearns for things that sink,
that burrow down. The sand

is old but strong enough
to keep the morning out.

Michelle Boisseau

Michelle Boisseau

Michelle Boisseau published five books of poetry, most recently Among the Gorgons (University of Tampa Press, 2016) and A Sunday in God-Years (University of Arkansas Press, 2009). She was twice awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. She was invited by the late Robert Wallace to co-write the textbook Writing Poems (Longman), now in its eighth edition. She taught for 22 years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she served as Senior Editor of BkMk Press and Contributing Editor of New Letters. A lifelong baseball fan and a graduate of the University of Houston doctoral program in Creative Writing, Michelle, who died in November 2017, lived to see a team she loved—the Houston Astros—win the World Series.
Michelle Boisseau

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Author: Michelle Boisseau

Michelle Boisseau published five books of poetry, most recently Among the Gorgons (University of Tampa Press, 2016) and A Sunday in God-Years (University of Arkansas Press, 2009). She was twice awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. She was invited by the late Robert Wallace to co-write the textbook Writing Poems (Longman), now in its eighth edition. She taught for 22 years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she served as Senior Editor of BkMk Press and Contributing Editor of New Letters. A lifelong baseball fan and a graduate of the University of Houston doctoral program in Creative Writing, Michelle, who died in November 2017, lived to see a team she loved—the Houston Astros—win the World Series.