Dry snow, the pines scalyAs deer parade single fileAs if on duty, decliningThe ridge without effortTheir nostrils and breathSuddenly enlarged, downTo the dock stackedUnder snow andWhat has blown into it,Twigs and bark from birches,And out onto iceAbove fish staring skywardAs dry as stuffed bass and pickerelMounted over a mantelGrowing smaller, like in a dustOf snow flakes,Or a broken sentenceIn Old EnglishDuring that era we didSo many illuminating detours—a breeze stirs,Something barks backAs the surface bendsUnder its own weight
From Skin by Robert VanderMolen (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2021).
Copyright © 2021 by Robert VanderMolen.
Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions.
Robert VanderMolen is the author of twelve collections of poetry. He has been publishing poetry since the mid-1960s. His poems appear regularly in periodicals such as the London Review of Books, Grand Street, Parnassus, Poetry, Epoch, Michigan Quarterly Review, Bald Ego, and Saint Ann’s Review. He lives and works in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
"Robert VanderMolen finds and propounds the courage to hold himself accountable for the unaccountable consequences of Attention, of Vision. Thus his is a law without bounds and an unconditional mercy. The Sublime is always inappropriate, and VanderMolen delights in sublimity without shame. Honor him."
—Donald Revell, author of The English Boat
"For over half a century now, Robert VanderMolen has been 'shoring up the fragments' of our increasingly pixelated lives to form some of the most surprising, original poems in the American pantheon."
—Chris Dombrowski, author of Body of Water