By James McKean James McKean
There is little I can do
besides stoop to pluck them
one by one from the ground,
their roots all weak links,
this hoard of Lazaruses popping up
at night, not the Heavenly Blue
so like silk handkerchiefs,
nor the Giant White so timid
in the face of the moon,
but poor relations who visit
then stay. They sleep in my garden.
Each morning I evict them.
Each night more arrive, their leaves
small, green shrouds,
reminding me the mother root
waits deep underground
and I dig but will never find her
and her children will inherit
all that I’ve cleared
when she holds me tighter
and tighter in her arms.

Reprinted from Headlong, University of Utah Press, 1987, by permission of the author, and first published in Poetry Northwest, Vol. 23, No. 3, 1982. Copyright © 1982 by James McKean, whose most recent book is Home Stand, a memoir published in 2005 by Michigan State University Press.

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Poet James McKean

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Death, Nature

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 James  McKean


James McKean is the author of Home Stand: Growing Up in Sports (Michigan State University Press, 2005), Tree of Heaven (University of Iowa Press, 1995), and Headlong (University of Utah Press, 1987). His poetry has been published in former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's column, "American Life in Poetry." He lives in Iowa City.

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Poems by James McKean

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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