Because she wanted to teach me a lesson about the natural world, my grandmother raised
Her .22 rifle—we were rabbit hunting, so the shotgun was at home under her blue chintz pillow—and brought
A quail down on the covey rise. Impossible shot you may be thinking. True. I said “my grandmother”
Because if I’d said “my mother” you wouldn’t believe a word of it, since a mother should be leading
A research group, or running a software company, but a grandmother still can dress in buckskin
And ride a fabulous palomino, doing handstands on the saddle, executing trick shots blindfold
With a musket, reloading on the fly, while deep in the underbrush I gather the rabbits to me
And we tremble together in the riptide of her passing.
Copyright © 2017 by T. R. Hummer
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
T. R. Hummer’s most recent books of poetry are the three linked volumes Ephemeron, Skandalon, and Eon (LSU Press). Former editor in chief of The Kenyon Review, of The New England Review, and of The Georgia Review, he has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant in Poetry, the Richard Wright Award for Artistic Excellence, the Hanes Poetry Prize, and the Donald Justice Award in Poetry. He lives in Cold Spring, New York. (Author photo by Elizabeth Cody)
After the Afterlife explores the zone between language and spirit. It is a book of inner and outer boundaries: of blockades, of tunnels, of wormholes. Where does our consciousness come from, and where is it going, if anywhere? With a nimble blend of wit, whimsy, and erudition, Hummer’s poems assay the border that the shaman is forced to cross to wrestle with the gods, which is the same border the mystic yearns to broach, and the ordinary human stumbles over while doing laundry or making lunch—where questions of identity melt in the white heat of Being.