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Robert Hill Long

Robert Hill Long graduated in 1975 from Davidson College, where his poetry was awarded a prize by Donald Hall. He received an M.F.A. in 1983 at the Warren Wilson College Program for Writers; in 1984 he was founding director of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. He has been teaching at the University of Oregon since 1991, and has also taught at Clark University, the University of Hartford, and Smith College. His first book, The Power to Die, was published by Cleveland State University in 1987.


Stealing Dirt

Would-be lovers, teen-agers blue-cheeked with acne, always end up where they're not allowed: over the cemetery wall, balancing on the lip of a bricked-over vault to pocket handfuls of goofer dust—dirt of a grave, any grave—that can turn a girl's [...]

Eyes of the Swordfish

The only way you know it's noon in these three blocks of houses the color of salt-glazed clays is when Our Lady of Pompeii spews out its host of pigtails and pleated tartan skirts. Two or three sun-faded shutters will push open then—maids instructe [...]

Grandfather Long the Last Time

1. The front porch glider Back and forth the glider heaves our strange bodies, 88 and 24, your head swaying on its stern like a balding dandelion: eyes almost frosted over, throat whiskers root-hair white, you smell of mildew and ammonia —is this [...]

To An Uneaten Shrimp In A Sausalito Cafe

So, little prawn, what about your prana? Where did it go    in this confection of butter and garlic you're half-dressed in, congealing on the Buffalo china?    Does wine embalm your shock from the instant the net hauled you clear in a streami [...]

Sarah,4:30 A.M.

Robin-song loud at the bedroom window, a three-note descant over the weak groundnote of my newborn daughter's milk-cry. She nurses, I lie waiting my turn at the changing table, the bird's variations wash over our bodies in pre-dawn dark: Rich or poo [...]

To Seth, Ten Years Later

A sidewinder spelled the first letter of your name as my flashlight chased it through sage scrub away from the tent where your mother slept, hands laid to the rise of belly-skin over your head. All day we'd searched canyons for Anasazi handprints the [...]