The Depot

By Anne Winters b. 1939 Anne Winters
Sparrows tapping your shutters louvres? snow owls
guano your eaves? Spring rainstorms sway
in your gutters; down-cellar a green pipe pearls

and roots find its fissures. Matter—outside us, out in le Vrai,
matter—un-does; fatiscit; a sort of eternal
breakdown and sloughage. Small wonder that Saturday

finds you botanizing some mast-high aisle
in the Depot. Fazed by stock-names and numbers, distinctions
like drip-forged and molly- and carborundum-steel,

or, in DIMENSIONAL LUMBER, the trunk chart. Its dotted lines
follow core cuts, mere spindles, out to the perimeter or “wane,”
a ring of two-by-twelves with moonrim bark ribbons.

Yet even sparrows must nest-mend with worldstuff torn
out of somewhere. The joinery-bits in the MASTER JOINER
blister-pack point to his fast parataxes—copulas, common-

alities, ship-lists, figures in carpets or slimmer
hex-keys in sets, the eternal angle (Egyptian)
or iron plane-handles tuned to the unheard rumor

that joins them. The same slits reparied once with tendon-
thread in bone needles, bronze pins, the earliest factory-fittings
or the long floating line of the bass-baritone

Leporello, his catàlogo of continents and couplings
ironizing, admiring, down to the final mel-
isma on DOES (you know the Don’s doings)

voi . . . sapete, voi . . . sapete . . . quel
che FA-AHH, ah-ahh, ah-ahh . . . Ah vowel
that winds through the world like a wind or a dowel,

you make us a clean dream of matter. Electrons wheel
translucent in orbit, sealants in lucid spheres fall
to our refts and rifts, you grout tubs and re-seal

turved huts in the rainy Carpathians where the Baal
Shem Tov (“the world is a wedding”) lingers, and back to our own vernal
mall. You float like a bird through the darkening hall

of the Depot, cooling the brows of nocturnal
plasterers trailing meanders of lime-white prints
under parking-lot lights, past crepuscular forklifts, feral

carhoods streaming the fractalized shadows of chain links
and sledges laden with wattles, with yellowy rolls of oiled paper
to seal up the windows of snowy Muscovy or Minsk.

Anne Winters, “The Depot” from The Displaced of Capital, published by The University of Chicago Press. Copyright © 2004 by Anne Winters. Used by permission of the author.

Source: The Displaced of Capital (The University of Chicago Press, 2004)

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Poet Anne Winters b. 1939

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Activities, Travels & Journeys, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Biography

Anne Winters is the author of The Key to the City (1986), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Displaced of Capital (2004), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.

Her poems address issues of poverty, homelessness, social inequality, and the city of New York. Dan Chiasson described her poems as “Miltonic, Marxist, ornate, and indignant,” adding that “her real . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Travels & Journeys, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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