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Back Road

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Winter mornings
driving past
I’d see these kids
huddled like grouse
in the plowed ruts
in front of their shack
waiting for the bus,
three small children
bunched against the drifts
rising behind them.

This morning
I slowed to wave
and the smallest,
a stick of a kid
draped in a coat,
grinned and raised
his red, raw hand,
the snowball
packed with rock
aimed at my face.



Poem copyright ©2012 by Bruce Guernsey from his most recent book of poems, From Rain: Poems, 1970-2010, Ecco Qua Press, 2012. Poem reprinted by permission of Bruce Guernsey and the publisher.
Source: Poetry (Poetry)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 1980 issue of Poetry magazine

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Back Road

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  • Poet, teacher, and editor, Bruce Guernsey graduated from Colgate University 1966. He later earned MAs from the University of Virginia and The John Hopkins University and a PhD from the University of New Hampshire.
     
    Bruce Guernsey’s quiet, observant poems draw vividly upon the nature of his surroundings in the Northeast—and later Midwest—United States. In an interview with poet Diane Lockward, Guernsey notes how the move from New England to Illinois affected his writing profoundly: “the flatness of the prairie gave me the perspective I needed to write about my native stone walls and pine forests. The same stones and those dark woods also made me look at the open fields of the Midwest in a far different way than did those who grew up here.”
     
    Guernsey has published seven chapbooks and several books of poetry, including New England Primer (2008), The Lost Brigade (2004), Soldier's Home...

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