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  4. Homecoming by Keith Althaus

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We drove through the gates
into a maze of little roads,
with speed bumps now,
that circled a pavilion,
field house, and ran past
the playing fields and wound
their way up to the cluster
of wood and stone buildings
of the school you went to once.
The green was returning to
the trees and lawn, the lake
was still half-lidded with ice
and blind in the middle.
There was nobody around
except a few cars in front
of the administration. It must
have been spring break.
We left without ever getting out
of the car. You were quiet
that night, the next day,
the way after heavy rain
that the earth cannot absorb,
the water lies in pools
in unexpected places for days
until it disappears.

Reprinted from Ladder of Hours: Poems 1969-2005, Ausable Press, Keene, N.Y., 2005, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2005 by Keith Althaus.
Source: Ladder of Hours: Poems 1969-2005 (Ausable Press, 2005)
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  • Poet and art writer Keith Althaus was educated at Hamilton College. The author of numerous poetry collections, including Ladder of Hours (2005) and Rival Heavens (1993), he has also had work featured in the anthology Soul Food (2007). Althaus’s spare, meditative poems embrace the particular while exploring the transformative aspects of work, personal history, and travel. Santa Fe newspaper the New Mexican described Althaus’s poems in Ladder of Hours as “unusually lyric … with both a clarity and gravity of tone that is not often found in contemporary poetry.”
    Althaus’s honors include a Pushcart Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a grant from the Massachusetts Council for the Arts. After a 1969 fellowship at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center on Cape Cod, Althaus settled in North Truro, Massachusetts, with his wife, the artist Susan Baker. Together they run an art gallery.

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