Home PageArchivesVolume no. 3Issue 2Poetry: Dickey

Excerpts from ‘American Rough-leg’

Laressa Dickey

[audio:https://newfound.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/American Rough-leg 1.mp3|titles=”American Rough-leg 1″ by Laressa Dickey] In the dark barn, the real result.
Stripped the tinny tobacco leaves off the split stalk, hand by hand.
For if I lost my feet there. No settling up.
Now, everything in Paris tastes salty. The still rain.
There’s the dry leaf crackle, there’s diligence.
What is better than the willow branch bending?
You sort yourself out, what doesn’t come from cotton.
Tomahawk hatchet, croissant. On the bobbing river or in the row.
Cutting into the sap. Undulate is what her spine does
             she dances. Washes salt off her plate.
Everything coming in this back door rushes me.

[audio:https://newfound.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ARL 2.mp3|titles=”American Rough-leg 2″ by Laressa Dickey] Someone holds the heels. Every hard ankle is touched in the way of
welcome. What wind would tell us if the feet are fixed or whether the
spine will twirl the body in two. If you are here—I knew the neighbor’s
stars over his place better than my own. Is this a man keeping order. Is
this the body by satellite. Was the impossible thing awake, to board or
cage, oh come on. To say my reluctance, a bridle; she had more to do by my
count—My loss loss showed, following a dentist drill or hydraulic engine.
It all came by diesel, anyhow. Just another warning with stripes around
the wrists. Unison: I move in the rhythm I like, this hand battering or her
glass bones. What means has the heart; a force by which the horse rises
up. Is this a sturdy bit or the relevance of the dish falling from her hands

[audio:https://newfound.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ARL 3.mp3|titles=”American Rough-leg 3″ by Laressa Dickey] Left on Locust. Rick expanded his BBQ joint. A man blowing air slowly
his tense lips. Left, Locust. The flea market wasn’t for her; he is making
pots to sell. Full of Lucy, plinth. So wrong she carried it folded up like a
love note, one place she was walking home. He lost the farm, almost, the
mint by the creek the bank owns.
            You don’t want—passive feast. Keep it with you, if my gut would
let me, swollen beside the house shifting. O but she waited, feet out over
bed; he was static and they situated where I left the hatched locust drying.
Hickory trees kicking doors to get out.

[audio:https://newfound.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ARL4.mp3|titles=”American Rough-leg 4″ by Laressa Dickey] In the photograph, his grandmother sat on the moon. She resembled
dotted daisies, ticked by blushing. Not a moment too soon the red haw.
Condense. The family crossed for sixty-eight dollars a person, onerous
now her garland nose. They told her all the faults, bay to exhaust the
loved, dripping faucet. Before her hands brush her skirt, will this soothe my
new permanent.


[audio:https://newfound.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ARL5.mp3|titles=”American Rough-leg 5″ by Laressa Dickey] For what yes the day begins

His back, I can tell if bright blue signals the garbage truck

To start work if the what wasn’t beeping

Endless dimensions won’t match these tucked behind the ear words

My double wheel, an image panting

Sudden black squirrel, as if I remember black

Pileated woodpecker in a body of light on a distant oak

The distance is inside me and viscous


Laressa Dickey is a poet, dancer, and somatic worker. She has two hand-bound chapbooks forthcoming from MIEL Books. Born in Tennessee, she received her MFA in 2005 from the University of Minnesota and now lives in Berlin.



  1. ilaria says: March 24, 2012
  2. JoeHawes says: March 24, 2012
  3. Darcy Karl says: June 24, 2012

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