By C. D. Wright 1949–2016
Where the old trees reign with their forward dark   
light stares through a hole in the body’s long   
house. The bed rolls away from the body,
and the body is forced to find a chair. At some hour   
the body sequesters itself in a shuttered room
with no clock. When a clean sheet of paper floats by,   
the head inclines on its axis. It is one of those
common bodies that felt it could not exist without loving,   
but has in fact gone on and on without love.
Like a cave that has stopped growing, we don’t call it dead,   
but dormant. Now the body is on all fours, one arm   
engaged in pulling hair from a trap, an activity   
the body loathes. When the time comes, the body
feeds on marinated meats and fruits trained to be luscious.   
Once the body had ambitions—to be tall and remain   
soft. No more, but it enjoys rappelling to the water.   
Because the body’s dwelling is stone, perched over water,   
we say the body is privileged. Akin to characters   
in Lawrence books, its livelihood is obscured. It owns   
a horse named Campaign it mounts on foggy morns.   
That was the body’s first lie. It has no horse
and wouldn’t climb on one. Because the body lives
so far from others, it likes reading about checkered lives
on the metrópoli. It likes moving around at night under its dress.   
When it travels, bottles of lotion open in its bags.   
Early in March the big rains came—washing all good thoughts   
from the body’s cracks and chinks. By now the body admits   
it is getting on, and yet, continues to be tormented   
by things being the way they are. Recently the body took   
one of the old trees for a wife, but the union has broken down.   
The light has bored out of the body’s long house.   
Fog envelops its stone flanks. Still the body
enjoys rappelling to the water. And it likes the twenty four-hour stores,
walking up and down the aisles, not putting a thing in its basket.

C. D. Wright, “Provinces” from Steal Away: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by C. D. Wright. Reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P. O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA 98368-0271,

Source: Steal Away: Selected and New Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)

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Poet C. D. Wright 1949–2016

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects The Body, Nature

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 C. D. Wright


C.D. Wright was born in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, the daughter of a judge and a court reporter. She published over a dozen books, including ShallCross (2016); One With Others (2011), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was nominated for a National Book Award; Rising, Falling, Hovering (2008); Like Something Flying Backwards: New and Selected Poems (2007); and Tremble (1996). She also provided the text to . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT The Body, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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