Featured in Colorado Review
From River HouseFeatured, Poetry
Published Summer 2015
To know yourself better practice forgetting.
Infinite circles fit in a line.
When I see the phone I want to call my mother.
I take a class to learn about an actor’s tool, the neutral mask.
My favorite mirror though is Ahab
Caught on the deck in the eyes of Starbuck,
The moment that leads to forgetting the track,
Seeing his wife, considering turning, but then not.
I love the luscious mowing later on, but no more than
The moment between
The two men, fact on the verge of doubling back.
We practice moving in cataclysmic response.
Earthquake, tidal wave, volcano, tsunami.
In the dance studio, sheets drape over the mirror.
We will learn, this way, to see ourselves better.
At a certain point, I recognize the sound I hear.
The nieces of my neighbor, recently dead at ninety-four,
Are cleaning the room he had lived in since before the war.
Softened only by trash bags, old stuff hits the floor.
“There is a lesson in all this,” one of them says
As I leave my apartment to run an errand.
Happenstance the conversations we hear out of sequence.
In Wyoming on a car trip, for example,
Two friends going on about losing their mothers.
But my own mother was fine then.
The roads were empty. I thought about strip mines.
According to Lucretius, voices impact the ears
From places through which the eye can never see.
From prairie land, the Devils Tower rises up into the sky.
An igneous intrusion, the guidebook calls it.
Rocks from fragments of rock carried by water and wind.
Sally Keith’s fourth collection, River House, was published in April 2015. She is also the author of The Fact of the Matter (Milkweed, 2012) and two previous collections of poetry, Design, winner of the 2000 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and Dwelling Song (University of Georgia Press, 2004). She is a member of the MFA faculty at George Mason University and lives in Washington, d.c.