When she asked questions
that could only be answered
with elusive responses she

compared the exchanges
to Shaker furniture or music
from the Civil War era

something pared down
and spooky in its austerity
the ways that made it so

American but somehow
I never saw things that way
it always seemed as if this

was just another way of saying
I live below Canal Street
and know something you don't

Stephen Newton
STEPHEN NEWTON is Assistant Professor of English at William Paterson University
in Wayne, New Jersey, where he also directs the Writing Center. In his spare time he likes to sit in on electric guitar with friends playing in bars in the southern Adirondacks/Lake George/ Saratoga Springs area, and many years ago he was a night-shift janitor at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville,Tennessee. On his office wall at the university he has postcards of Tom Waits, Allen Ginsberg, James Joyce, Fernando Pessoa, Willam Burroughs, Chet Baker, Billy Holiday, Jack Kerouac, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, the Dalai Lama, Homer Simpson, and Elvis. Stephen Newton has had poetry and prose published in Downtown Brooklyn: A Journal of Writing, College English Notes, Bwe: Basic Writing e-Journal, and has work forthcoming in The Penwood Review and The English Record.