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Tuesday, October 10, 2006


by J. Ladin

After a phrase by Karl Miller

I was born into a family of hunters.

As anyone who follows me knows,
I am the nicest of predators, so squeamish in fact
I blush at the thought of intestines.

I too have intestines
but these days my cheeks rarely color.
I am a product of a disinterested era,

when my family was not only less established
but actually embarrassed
by the mockery of flightless birds

that followed us through the forests.
The birds were right.
We were ridiculous, completely absurd,

painting our caves with blood, propitiating stars
as though the universe was concerned
with whether we feasted or starved.

Some things haven't changed at all.
These days, though, the forest is quiet.
No one's laughing now.

J. Ladin's first collection of poems, Alternatives to History, was published in 2003 by Sheep Meadow Press. Sheep Meadow is bringing out Ladin's second collection, The Book of Anna, in spring 2007. Ladin's poetry is featured in the current issues of the British journals New Writing and EnterText, in Cross Currents, an interdisciplinary journal of religion, and in disClosure, Innisfree and College English Notes. J. Ladin's poems have appeared in many other magazines as well, including Parnassus: Poetry in Review, North American Review, the Italian journal Storie, Puerto del Sol, American Literary Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Minnesota Review, Exquisite Corpse, Seneca Review, Blueline, Cottonwood and Sequoia.