24 December 2008

Martha Ronk

[from Martha Ronk's Vertigo, Coffee House Press, 2007]

"I keep looking in the windows when I walk by"

When she crosses under the Gulf sign with her folded umbrella
        in the bright sun.
When she sees the limp hair of the swimmer.
When she holds her limp umbrella next to the limp dress.
Others have their morning routines, cayenne pepper in green tea,
a walk from hither to yon, repeated rituals of ruin
as if we mourn our own demise daily in the thick of it.
A book with photographs of crumbling columns,
stone facades broken into phantom bits,
an entire day given over to dust and shaking out the rain
from the spines of the umbrella, from the torn parka she put
        in the play.
I keep looking in the windows when I walk by hoping to see how
        to do it.
If I see the body I was looking for it is almost always mine.

Vertigo (National Poetry Series Books)

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