Loam Dreamers

by Doug Ramspeck Issue: Spring 2016

In my last life there was the mud
and the fields and the scaffolding

of bones inside the body.
I was everywhere the grass

and everywhere the disappointment,
how little the moon is visible through

the clouds when we’re asleep,
how love comes to us like the crow

I saw this morning pecking
at the filmy eyes of a raccoon,

which I believe is the first memory
of being.  I dreamed this once

when love lay its animal body
beside me, the prayerful smell

of the hour as perfect as the green
days slipping past outside the window.

I was everywhere the first breath,
but what of the primitive self

who sleeps at night beneath
the skull of moon that can’t be seen,

these clearly human trees waiting
come winter like stripped bone?

I have everywhere this life
like every other, have always

this snow falling past the windows
come twilight as gray soot,

the hardness of the mud
in winter, this walking out

across it and believing
I am somehow coming back.

Doug Ramspeck

Doug Ramspeck is the author of five poetry collections. His most recent book, Original Bodies, was selected for the Michael Waters Poetry Prize and is published by Southern Indiana Review Press. Two earlier books also received awards: Mechanical Fireflies (Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize), and Black Tupelo Country (John Ciardi Prize). Individual poems have appeared in journals that include The Kenyon ReviewSlateThe Southern Review, and The Georgia Review. He is an associate professor at The Ohio State University at Lima, where he teaches creative writing.