Happy is she whom the sea takes
while she sleeps, then sends back
to a warm bed before she wakes.
Happy is she whose ancestors
broke rocks in the field she’ll mow today.
One had spoken his name aloud in her dream.
All winter he’d pasted stamps into a book—sure
to own by May the black shoes he claimed
he’d need to enter the white city.
Now rain shimmers in the granite’s
engraved letters: dates of entry and departure.
A pleasure when the world inside hums in time
to the world outside. Happy is she to dress early
and walk the short walk to their crypts.
Nance Van Winckel’s fourth collection of poetry is Beside Ourselves (Miami University Press, 2003). A new collection of poems is forthcoming from University of Washington Press. She has received two NEA Fellowships and has recent poems in APR, Ploughshares, New Letters, and The Massachusetts Review. She has also published three books of short fiction, most recently Curtain Creek Farm (Persea Books, 2000), and is the recipient of a 2005 Christopher Isherwood Fiction Fellowship and the Patterson Fiction Award. New short stories appear in The Georgia Review and Agni. She teaches in the MFA programs at Eastern Washington University and Vermont College.