The Map

By Larry Levis 1946–1996 Larry Levis
Applying to Heavy Equipment School   
I marched farther into the Great Plains   
And refused to come out.
I threw up a few scaffolds of disinterest.   
Around me in the fields, the hogs grunted   
And lay on their sides.

You came with a little water and went away.   
The glass is still on the table,
And the paper,
And the burned scaffolds.
   *
You were bent over the sink, washing your stockings.
I came up behind you like the night sky behind the town.   
You stood frowning at your knuckles
And did not speak.
   *
At night I lie still, like Bolivia.
My furnaces turn blue.
My forests go dark.
You are a low range of hills, a Paraguay.   
Now the clouds cover us both.
It is raining and the movie houses are open.

Larry Levis, “The Map” from The Afterlife (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1977). Reprinted with the permission of Sheila Brady.

Source: The A (University of Iowa Press, 1977)

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Poet Larry Levis 1946–1996

Subjects Nature, Relationships, Men & Women, Jobs & Working, Landscapes & Pastorals, Activities

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Larry  Levis

Biography

Poet Larry Levis, whose collection The Afterlife won the Lamont Poetry Prize, often employed an imagist or surrealist approach in his work. As Diane Wakoski wrote in Contemporary Poets, Levis's "work is best when the poems are short and are shaped by his imagist instincts or his gestures towards surrealism. He is a master of the brief moment of recognition where the personal is embedded in the generic . . . and the least . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Relationships, Men & Women, Jobs & Working, Landscapes & Pastorals, Activities

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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