Goofer-Dust

By Thomas Lux b. 1946 Thomas Lux

(dirt stolen from an infant’s grave around midnight)

Do not try to take it from my child’s grave, nor
from the grave   
of my childhood,
nor from any infant’s grave I guard—voodoo, juju, boo-hoo rites   
calling for it or not! This dust, this dirt, will not
be taken at dawn or noon
or at the dusky time,   
and if you approach
this sacred place near midnight,
then I will chop,
one by one, your fingers off
with which you do your harm. Goofer-dust: if you want it,
if you need it, then
erect downwind from a baby’s grave
a fine-meshed net   
and gather it
one-half grain, a flaky mote, an infinitesimally small fleck
of a flake at a time   
and in such a way   
it is given to you
by the day, the wind, the world,
it is given to you, thereby
diminishing the need to steal
this dirt displaced by a child
in a child’s grave.

Thomas Lux, “Goofer-Dust” from The Crade Place. Copyright © 2004 by Thomas Lux. Used by the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: The Cradle Place (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004)

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Poet Thomas Lux b. 1946

Subjects Living, Infancy, Horror, Death, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Mythology & Folklore

 Thomas  Lux

Biography

Acclaimed poet and teacher Thomas Lux began publishing haunted, ironic poems that owed much to the Neo-surrealist movement in the 1970s. Critically lauded from his first book Memory’s Handgrenade (1972), Lux’s poetry has gradually evolved towards a more direct treatment of immediately available, though no less strange, human experience. Often using ironic or sardonic speakers, startlingly apt imagery, careful rhythms, and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Infancy, Horror, Death, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Mythology & Folklore

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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