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After a Great Loss

Go Down the dream voice said:

into the well, the mud bottom,

bog woman. Go down to taste

where you come from, mud angel,

the muck and swill you forgot.

Leave your books to the rain,

let the road maps be snatched

by a gust, axe the piano, melt

the silver inside your self

in a hot god-fire. Go down

where ancient crows gather

their screech, where their blue-

black wings thicken the sky,

into the speechless well, word-

woman, into the thick of it.


Betsy Sholl’s tenth collection of poetry, As If a Song Could Save You, will be published by the University of Wisconsin Press in fall of 2022. She teaches in the MFA in Writing Program of Vermont College of Fine Arts and served as Poet Laureate of Maine from 2006 to 2011.


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