Eastern View of Yarmouth 1840
Windmill arms, church spire, darklines of ground sky, an etching
I’ll scrape into metal in a school on a military base on the coast
of Spain not knowing I can make something stark and clear
appear, white cap over hills houses or maybe only
distance, fence low enough to jump fronts the town:
10 barnhouses, thin river road, one man with a crook
heads inside. My fifth great-grandfather dead ten years buried
no one knows, reservation land leased to the highest bidder sold
to pay smallpox costs the cost of dying, my mother’s line
survived through him, his son who died at sea 8 years before,
everyone married under the spire, where I’ll not stop
crying reading a poem for my grandmother who will die in one
hundred and fifty-eight years, all our family in the pews, from
the pulpit looking down it’s as if I am already gone, bringing news.
Kelle Groom is the author of four poetry collections, most recently, Spill (Anhinga Press), a memoir: I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl (NYT Book Review Editor’s Choice), and How to Live: A Memoir-in-Essays (Tupelo Press, Oct 2023). An NEA Fellow, Groom’s work appears in American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, and Ploughshares.