Line of Descent

By Forrest Gander b. 1956 Forrest Gander
Against the backdark, bright
                              riband flickers of heat lightning.    Nearer
                hills begin to show, to come clear
                                                             as a hard, detached
                                                                                            and glimmering brim
                                             against light lifting there.    And here, pitched over
the braided arroyo choked with debris,
                                                             a tent, its wan, cakey,
                                road-rur color.    On the front stake, two
                green dragonflies, riding each other, pause,
                                             Look! cries the boy, running, the father behind him
                                 running too—
                                                               and the canyon opening
                out in front of them its magisterial consequence, cramming
                               vertiginous air down its throat—
                                                                                           to snatch him
                                                                    from the scarp.

Forrest Gander, “Line of Descent” from Torn Awake. Copyright © 1996 by Forrest Gander. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Torn Awake (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1996)

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Poet Forrest Gander b. 1956

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Activities, Sports & Outdoor Activities, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Forrest  Gander

Biography

Born in California’s Mojave Desert, poet Forrest Gander grew up in Virginia and attended the College of William & Mary, where he majored in geology. After receiving an MA in literature from San Francisco State University, Gander moved to Mexico, then to Arkansas, where his poetry—informed by his knowledge of geology—turned its attention to landscape as foreground or source of action.

Gander’s books of poetry include Eye Against . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Sports & Outdoor Activities, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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