Years: 2004, 2005, 2006
- Chanda Feldman grew up in Tennessee. She earned a MFA from Cornell University and a BA in English Literature from the University of Chicago. She has received fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Cave Canem, Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, the Djerassi Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, the Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, and Vermont Studio Center. Her poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Northwest Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Review, Verse Daily, and other literary journals, and in the anthologies Gathering Ground and The Ringing Ear. Chanda lives in Rehovot, Israel.
We were in a place we rarely go anymore, the door-key in my mother's purse, as if her childhood house had options, wasn't its own
dead end. The cocklebur- and ragweed-choked yard. The windows busted through, someone had dragged the couch into the driveway, a few plates brimmed
with rainwater. It was never much to begin with. A shotgun house on cinder blocks, plumbing never installed. The roof's tin lid,
wind-hooked, bent. I've always wondered what befell those homesteads along highways. Slackened—
the crib barn's withered oak. How a family recedes from the decline. Now I know it can happen swift. The Mississippi River's ferry
service suspended. The lumber mill leaving workers waiting in line. No one makes a living farming these days. No one takes over
the uptown shops—all the undressed window displays.
we're in a field I used to love and hate. The thumb-fat bees at the water pump. Dog packs switching through goldenrod. The hills stitched
in soy and cotton. The crying panther I'd fear to hear before knowing it was a tale. No one in the family could believe
my grandmother's last request: to be buried between her two late husbands. It had been thirty years since their bones rose on floods and washed away.
Who would remind her it would have to be otherwise? It just made sense to let it go.