Samuel Green


We knew he was different,
the one who called a pause
in our pasture baseball once,
the quiet, oldest son, still living
at home. He’d been to the store
& was taking a shortcut back. Stop,
he said, & we did, letting bats
& gloves dangle. From this angle
you could be . . .
& he named
a constellation none of us knew
from school or Scouts. We were playing
work-up. I’d just hit an easy out
toward the cow flop we used for third,
a pop fly that rose like a soiled moon
before tumbling into the pocket
of Frankie’s Ted Williams mitt
with a wet plop. That’s when the man said
Stop, said we looked like stars in a field
of sky, said we should imagine each of us
a billion miles apart. For a moment
it scared us, so much sudden distance
from each flaring heart, & then
he shuffled away toward the sagging wire
fence, taking with him the Greek
name that for a moment helped him see
some sort of earthly sense.


“Constellations” is forthcoming in Clover 

Samuel Green was born in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, and raised in the nearby
fishing and mill town of Anacortes. After four years in the military, including service in
Antarctica and South Vietnam, he attended college under the Veterans Vocational
Rehabilitation Program, earning degrees from Highline Community College and
Western Washington University (B.A. & M.A.). A 36-year veteran as a Poet-in-the-
Schools, he has taught in literally hundreds of classrooms around Washington State. He
has also been a Visiting Professor at Southern Utah University, Western Wyoming
Community College, Colorado College, and served nine winter terms as Distinguished
Visiting Northwest Writer at Seattle University, as well as nine summers in Ireland.
Poems have appeared in hundreds of journals, including Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Poet &
Critic, Poetry East, Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner,
and Puerto del Sol. Among his ten collections of poems are Vertebrae: Poems 1972-1994 (Eastern Washington University Press) and The Grace of Necessity (Carnegie-Mellon University Press), which won the 2008 Washington State Book Award for Poetry. He has lived for 29 years off the grid on remote Waldron Island off the Washington coast in a log house he built himself after living in a tent for three years. He is, with his wife, Sally, Co-Editor of the award-winning Brooding Heron Press, which produces fine, letterpressed volumes. In December, 2007, he was named by Governor Christine Gregoire to a two-year term as the Inaugural Poet Laureate for the State of Washington. In January of 2009, he was awarded a National
Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, and was a member of the NEA’s poetry
panel for the 2011 fellowships.

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