Gretchen Primack


This is the press of the earth. One star hanging
there, honking like a goose. The lake
a smudge of black juice, the hill a draped
pancake. Frogs singing, sharp
and gutty.
Night! Clean air, clear water, five
baby mink in a pile, snoring.
What overwhelm can be dug from sludge
below dock. On either side fruits slung
over branches, glued to their seeds.
I like so few people. Admire
fewer. Here in the slurry live the things
I consider; here in the hills. What do people
think of? What do they think of me
in my carings?

Ripples lunch on each other, heavenly
body lights flicker, too cool for moths.
I don't want to hurt things.
The fine brown eye of an animal,
the broad slick leaf of a wing.
I'd like to be gentle here.
I want to be worthy of you, lovely, tired
ground, bury my face in your broken bread.



ek—out of

Dangling from the center's ledge.
Leaning on the center to nudge it over.
Stroking the center's back, weeping.
Staring cross-armed at the center.
Heaving a shroud over it.
Walking away until the center disappears.

Gretchen Primack's chapbook, The Slow Creaking of Planets, came out from Finishing Line Press in 2007.  Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, FIELD, Best New Poets 2006, and elsewhere.  Her full-length manuscript, Fiery Cake, has been shortlisted for several prizes.  She lives in New York's Hudson Valley and teaches at Bard College and at two prisons through the Bard Prison Initiative. Her website is



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