16 January 2009

Rae Armantrout

[from Rae Armantrout's Up to Speed, Wesleyan, 2004]


A new season
sweeps across the merchandise.

Paper products suggest harvest,
then fear of the dark.

Rows of palms
in stanchions

having little stake
in matter.

They flap their fronds weakly
as we revolve.


Is it true we deserve
any blow
we fail to anticipate?

A shadow traveling down a wall

is a maternal hand

while a maternal hand
is lavender-suffusing

and dusk itself,
a great tissue
of lies,

suffused with blood.


Three things are placed
in safety

on a created plane:

and the stop-gap palms
bellwether palms


with the transparent
of the nonexistent

fatalistic nomads
we half-dreamed
                      of being

En Route

We've re-authorized silence
as a bridge
between two notes --

so that we're always
"about to" or
"have just."


So that a magic school bus
through a haunted museum.


A small boy
stops his ears with both hands

then spreads his arms wide,

covers his eyes
then flings his hands apart

like a performer concluding a set.

"What does a cat say?"
his mother asks.

Up to Speed (Wesleyan Poetry)

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