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From the archives

The Trust Spiral

Restoring faith in the media

Dear Prudence

A life of exuberance and eccentricity

Who’s Afraid of Alice Munro?

A long-awaited biography gives the facts, but not the mystery, behind this writer’s genius

Beautiful Inmate


No soap for the washcloth, no salt for the brine

that is dinner tonight. Mercury columns

insist the cold is too much for a man to endure


but, closer than ever to God, what you do

is endure and endure. With grit. Other inmates

use their washcloths wrong, weave sheepshanks


well into the moon time, climb their new ropes

out of the dungeon, out of the range

of exquisite redemption, as the first birds


scream. Once it’s the sun time, they toss rocks

they’re tied to off a bridge — but which partition

hope their speeding chests to pierce?


All the ocean in this soi-disant world wouldn’t

be enough for their baptism. Beneath

that surface dwells a door that’s very locked.


Water would be nice, you suppose, but God

bleeds no fluid when you wound him.

His arteries, if pierced, fart dust.


Never the less, the smallest drop would do:

just one lick! From one stalactite! The ocean

and the heavy rain and the morning dew and


the rations your cleaved lips find ample

and the tears of other, better-behaved

men would be yours to yank tempests from!


Ben Ladouceur is a recipient of the Earle Birney Prize. His first book of poems, Otter, will be published by Coach House Press in spring 2015.