Doug Ramspeck

The Art of Migration

The field where the first

humans knew to love

must have had a migrating moon
drifting in a black sea of sky.

And if it is love when birds
head out all in one direction,

when we wake in gray light
to a squawking that seems

either a renunciation
or a blessing, this must be

the door behind which love
touches its ear to thin wood,

this V that geese form
above our house, calling

otherworldly in new light.


Grass Prayers

And because she loves the calling jays,
the carnal heat of late July, she imagines

wading with her husband into decades:
work then children then illnesses then dying.

In the dream the lake beyond the field
is the bright iris of an eye, the stigmata

leaf shadows staining earth. And though
she knows that prayers are older

than the prophet grass, she imagines
speaking to the half-blind garden wall

with its crumbling stones, speaking
to the primitive voices of crows.

Each new word arches its back in grass,
this dumb substance we carry in the mud

of our bodies, how the preacher moon
drifts desiccated in a night sky.

Doug Ramspeck is the author of four poetry books. His most recent collection, Original Bodies (2014), was selected for the Michael Waters Poetry Prize and is published by Southern Indiana Review Press. Individual poems have appeared in journals that include The Kenyon Review, Slate, The Southern Review, and The Georgia Review. An associate professor at The Ohio State University at Lima, he teaches creative writing and directs the Writing Center.