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Peninsula, Ohio

30 April, 2017


by Diane Kendig
Peninsula, Ohio

For Sarah

Peninsula is a body of land surrounded by
a body of land--not how we learned it,
and tonight, looking at the map,
we are bewildered by this
and other differences in the country
since we moved to the city: uncertainty
over curves we used to take with more speed,
over deer we sensed without warning signs.
Once, back home in my teens, the deer returned
when our woods were half gone to houses.
You thought they’d come for love of us
because you thought one went everywhere
out of love or necessity
and they didn’t need us
with our stories of their quick beauty
or how we’d feed them in winter.
But there are lives revisited by mistake.
Now that we’ve said, “lost,” we’ve moved
from intention to fact,
can get on where we belong.
First we’ll pull over
and learn these two valleys,
the new meaning for these places
we thought we already knew.
“Peninsula, Ohio” by Diane Kendig, from Footwork. 1987. Used by permission of the author.
Diane Kendig has been a poet, writer, translator, editor and teacher for many years. She has five poetry collections, including Prison Terms (forthcoming, summer 2017), and recently co-edited the anthology In the Company of Russell Atkins. A recipient of two Ohio Arts Council Fellowships in Poetry and a Fulbright lectureship in translation, she has published widely in journals such as J Journal, Ekphrasis, Wordgathering and Sin Fronteras. In 2011 she moved from Boston back to her childhood home in Ohio, where she blogs at Home Again. This is her fourth year curating the Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry blog for Cuyahoga County Public Library.


Write a “word scramble” poem. Choose a one-word title and then write a poem where the end word of each line is derived from four or more letters in the title. For example, Terrence Hayes’s poem “Nuclear” has end line words uncle, rule, learn, clan(destine), lace, ulcer, race, caul(dron) and clean. Donna Massini’s poem “Anxieties“ is a word scramble poem, too.

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30April, 2017: Peninsula, Ohio

29April, 2017: Stones

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26April, 2017: Unkempt Sky

25April, 2017: Ariel

24April, 2017: Photograph

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READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.