Mayapple Press

Territories, Here & Elsewhere – Judith McCombs

Territories, Here & Elsewhere - Judith McCombs
Territories, Here & Elsewhere – Judith McCombs

Paper, saddlestitched, 28 pp
$6 plus s&h
1996, ISBN-0-932412-10-6

“This poetry full of living detail, and within the detail is an ongoing motif of adventure, risk and survival. McCombs is a pleasure for me to read.” –Alicia Ostriker

Pictures Not in Our Albums
by Judith McCombs

Somewhere it is still
a dream of safety, our young
parents hauling us up the dark pass,

Father blocking the wheels of the trailer
while Mother lets go the emergency brake
& eases the Ford into low, pulls forward
& slows, pulls forward & waits.
As if I had watched from a roadcut

I see the small oval Ford
pale in the shadows, our grey-blue trailer
weighing it down, the asphalt road
falling away on all sides into blackness,
the curve ahead climbing to blackness.

Across the vast basin of desert,
the night-drowned ridges and foothills,
a coyote howls & is answered. There are
no lights but ours on the earth,
no farther lights except the slow stars.

In the back of the car, in the warm
nest of children, I drift
from sleep to waking, breath
to breath, as the car labors
& rests, labors & rests,

& the night outside is a slow swelling sea
lapping the mountains, black waters
so vast that a ship could founder,
a thousand lit ships go down,
all lights but our own go under.

Judith McCombs was born in Virginia, and grew up in almost all the continental United States, in a geodetic surveyor’s family. She was the founding editor of Moving Out, one of the nation’s oldest surviving feminist literary arts journals, and has previously published books with Glass Bell Press and Dustbooks.

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