Jasper Number 11 Reads poems for The Evening Light


Scratch (skrach) n-es.  1. The sign
of a struggle: “. . . an ugly scratch,
his jacket smutched, a button missing.”
–B. Potter.  2. A harsh, grating sound
in the pinestraw and pebbles that clung
to the ground.  3. A test of character:
The grim-faced farmer, chest heaving,
shirt drenched, caught him on his property
and nearly skinned him with a knife.
4. A contraction of “trace,” “landscape,”
and “chance.” The Tale of Peter Rabbit
in the red hills and cotton of South Carolina.


Scrapescape (scrape.scape) n-s. 1. A
contraction of “scrape” and “landscape”
with the removal, in a word, of the scenery.
2. The development of a piece of property
for a commercial purpose commencing
with a puff from the upright exhaust pipe
of a bulldozer that shoves a heap of half-
buried debris to the side of the road, and
the junk dumped in the underbrush cracks
as it is crushed; or a reversal of the process
when a truck lumbers down a road, jounces
to a stop, and dumps a load of rubble into
a landfill; either way, the reconfiguration
of a landform.  3. How the blade of a grader
brings a clump of vegetation into line with
the horizon: broad, boundless and level.

from The Evening Light, by Warren Slesinger
Used with permission of Slesinger and Ninety-Six Press.

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