EXCERPT: Diode Poetry Journal 12.2




Laura Van Prooyen



Against Nostalgia


I’m not convinced that standing in the cemetery long enough for the slow dark to draw lightning bugs,


their fluorescence pulsing over my parents showing me their newly erected headstone, and where they’d like me to plant hostas and geraniums in the earth that will cover them


will do anything to relieve the coming grief.          They’re ready. Forever                               I’ve turned my eye to the future, blinked toward the new.


Once I thought tragedy would define me, something stray, a fast-moving object lodged into my brain.


What defines me is constancy of place, and my urge against it.


I’ve been going about this the wrong way, licking the same sore, gnawing on childhood, trying to bite away the fleas.



Laura Van Prooyen is author of two collections of poetry, Our House Was on Fire (Ashland Poetry Press 2015) nominated by Philip Levine and winner of the McGovern Prize and Inkblot and Altar (Pecan Grove Press 2006). She is also co-author with Gretchen Bernabei of Text Structures from Poetry, a book of writing lessons for educators of grades 4-12 (Corwin Literacy forthcoming 2020). Van Prooyen teaches in the low-residency MFA Creative Writing Program at Miami University in Oxford, OH. She lives in San Antonio, TX.


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