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Short Fiction
At the Bottom of the Sky
by Donald Morrill

Price: $11.00
80 pages
trade paper
ISBN: 0922811369
LCCN #: 98-016341

Singles' Guide to Marrieds

I wash dishes and talk in a low voice
to my ex-wife on the telephone, who's gone on
with things enough to miss me tonight
and believe it's eight years ago. I talk low
because the woman I love now
reads in the next room, trying not to listen
for some further clues to me. She likes clues,
believes they reaffirm the mystery
she wants to feel but can't, her current wisdom
making all fiascoes and evasive franknesses
an old spousal kiss. She's capacious in her recognitions,
and capacity seduces me like nothing else.
So I scrub and clink in the warm suds,
the receiver nestled on my shoulder
like a prom date for the slow dance.
I listen to the voice I once decided
I could die with, its casual evangelism,
a tone. It doesn't want me back but wants
to want me back. Its furnishings encroach, tonight,
and I'm still eager to pity it-time laughing at us,
time deserving our revenge. In my low voice,
I comfort and think of an old teacher
declaring all Minds lumpers or splitters.
In my hands, bubbles cluster, convert.

“At the Bottom of the Sky is a book in which every moment is earned and nothing is careless or unconvincing. Donald Morrill is a poet worthy of the themes of maturity. With virtuosity and finesse, and with geographical and sympathetic breadth, Morrill brings justice and beauty to these large, challenging subjects. A powerful book.”—Alane Rollings

“Donald Morrill has written a beautiful book. The poems in At the Bottom of the Sky are deeply reflective and intelligent and more: they are robust and generous, the product of both mind and heart. The sentences here are rich and complex, breaking perfectly across lines that are measured with a deft authority. Morrill looks outward in these poems, and, by doing so, pushes the limits of the poetic self. He sees and feels the lives of others, and the agile, muscular language of this book brings both poet and reader closer to a sense of what it means to live in our complex, beautiful, and unforgiving world. This is a powerful, distinguished collection, and Donald Morrill deserves our attention and praise.”—Frank X. Gaspar

“What I admire most about these poems is Donald Morrill's talent for fusing the personal and the political. He speaks as a citizen of history when he investigates the markets in China, when he revisits the Iowa of his childhood, when he contemplates the barracks at Auschwitz. He shows us how regimes—familial, social—reside within us, even as we strive for self-awareness and social justice. And in his love poems, with good humor, he makes the painful, ecstatic, complex journey toward another person, ‘which each of us has every right to want.’”—Robin Becker

“Candid and self-aware, the speaker in Donald Morrill's At the Bottom of the Sky creates astonishing intimacies of thought, feeling, and perception between himself and his readers. Morrill is a wonderful poet, brave enough both to speak his mind and to answer to his heart."—Kelly Cherry

“These solid, earthy poems are written simply, with heart and ability. Solemn and adept, Morrill's touch is distinguishable: understated, yet direct; human and thoroughly convincing. Donald Morrill is a writer of life; he is a poet the literary community will be hearing much more of.” —George Washington Review


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