Julie Choffel

Dear Wallace,


The long tidal river
is nothing special.
The broken buildings
are not special.
Your walk home
not special,
your house
not, nor the maple
still growing
in your yard
the afternoon
I stopped by
in the drag of
my very own friction
to touch some
place that pushed me


Dear Wallace,


You’re prolific.
You put even my own words in
your mouth.
I’m protem, like no more
boys in my womb.

The baby boy came out,
followed by another.
The crowd oohed and ahhed.

The girl, having arrived
prepared, resisted interpretation.
Said I wish I were famous,
meanwhile, the lamb bleating
like a steak.

I collect only stories
I can use.

Dear Wallace,


If things change not for some time
and then all at once

which part is this?

They say invention is the boredom
of mothers.

We have a dozen flavors of tea.
We have no time to waste.
We have meeting after meeting.

Welcome to the clan of

Enter the floodlands
where, mostly, nothing happens.

Watch us waiting,
watch us practice the rescue
until it becomes a near-death performance.


Dear Wallace,


Your sentiment like a boulder
careening down a marked path;
I step aside.
Your logic so sure.
I could practically punch you in the gut
but instead I listen
to the little toad
in your voice.

Did you ever have to search
for an old way again?


Dear Wallace,


So I’ve also wondered
            if you knew anything like
the ridicule of suburbia.
                        All the little babies’ fists
raised in the autumn air.

You say geranium like a household word
but still it’s
European? A vagary.
            School me
on the ways of a different era
when one could ride
                                    an entire wave
of another’s making.

 We’re all as genuine as we seem.

Appearances like trash and art
                        passing hand to hand.



Dear Wallace,



It’s what they taught us to teach the kids
when we taught poems. What’s yours?
we’d say.

Maybe it’s not a house.
Just not thinking in sentences.

 The moon’s side-eye
           looping over my mess
                        my mess
maybe I’m starting to like it?

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Julie Choffel is currently working on a book of poems addressed to Wallace Stevens. Her work has also appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Seattle Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Divine Magnet, and elsewhere, and her first book, The Hello Delay (2012), was chosen by Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge for the Poets Out Loud Prize. She teaches creative writing at the University of Connecticut.