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I am reading Louise Gluck's book, "A Village Life."

Two favorite poems from her book.


Not far from the house and barn,
the farm worker's burning dead leaves.

They don't disappear voluntarily;
you have to prod them along
at the farm worker prods the leaf pile every year
until it releases a small of smoke into the air.

And then, for an hour or so, it's really animated,
blazing away like something alive.

When the smoke clears, the house is safe.
A woman's standing in the back,
folding dry clothes into a willow basket.

So it's finished for another year,
death making room for life,
as much as possible,
but burning the house would be too much room.

Sunset. Across the road,
the farm worker's sweeping the cold ashes.
Sometimes a few escape, harmlessly drifting around in the wind.

Then the air is still.
Where the fire was, there's only bare dirt in a circle of rocks.
Nothing between the earth and the dark.


Like a child, the earth's going to sleep,
or so the story goes.

But I'm not tired, it says.
And the mother says, You may not be tired but I'm tired--

You can see it in her face, everyone can.
So the snow has to fall, sleep has to come.
Because the mother's sick to death of her life
and needs silence.


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Naoko Fujimoto was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan. She was an exchange student and received a B.A. and M.A. from Indiana University South Bend. Her recent publications are in Prairie Schooner, Hotel Amerika, RHINO, Cream City Review, and many other journals. Her first chapbook, “Home, No Home”, won the annual Oro Fino Chapbook Competition by Educe Press. Other short collections, “Silver Seasons of Heartache” and “Cochlea”, will be published by Glass Lyre Press in May, 2017. Currently she is working on her graphic poetry co…