In come the wrecks to Mark’s
and out the gear knobs, gas tanks,
radiators, speakers, mufflers.
Bins of parts.
The crummiest clunker is worth
Mark’s while. There’s an avenue
of front ends–Beetles, Buicks, Jags,
a ’49 Nash,
an alley of chassis,
a park of gutted bodies piled on
one another like lovers. Everything has
All of which is very gratifying, a sign
of what we’ll amount to
in the after time.
The loosestrife will take this, frogs
that, the earth will value
our humus, the cardinal put us to use.
Dismantled, we’ll go far.
For many years Rennie McQuilkin was an instructor of English at schools including Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. and Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT. He founded and until 2000 directed the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival at Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, which led naturally to his most recent venture: the establishing of Antrim House, a publisher of New England poets.
Rennie McQuilkin’s poetry has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The Southern Review, The Yale Review, The Hudson Review, The American Scholar, and elsewhere. Two of McQuilkin’s nine books have won major awards, and he has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as several fellowships from the CT Commission on the Arts. Other awards include first prize in the 2000 Yankee Awards series, the Ruth Fox Award of the New England Poetry Club, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Connecticut Center for the Book. He is the Poet Laureate of Simsbury, CT, where he and his wife, the artist Sarah McQuilkin, live on a small farm.