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Four Poems, by Rae Armantrout



It is always possible.

There are several forms
it is more or less
likely to take

at any point—
but it won’t
except by chance.

I need you
to locate this,
get at it

where it almost
is, almost isn’t
floating in near vacuum.

Feel it out
until “ping”
is its pronoun.

I am ready
to be displaced.




I want to make something
out of nothing

then sparkle and chill,
chill and sparkle

like a constellation.

A silver droplet hanging
from the tip
of each split leaf.

A drop
and its odd


Your Business

“It’s hot in the summer,”
you tell the stranger,

speaking in code
you no longer understand.


The wings of the iris
are ruffled, you say.

Bach’s muscular pauses
allow for repetition.


Beings vary only
in stress

and duration,

occupation and


While you push a dung ball

with infinity’s

you propagate bursts
of viral

likes and shares.


The Sleep Problem


“If there’s anything I can do
to help me,” I said.

That’s not what I meant.

I must hold my intention
in my mind’s eye
or it will go astray.

I must remember
to intend
to hold it


“Kickity-doodah,” I say,
when you flop over
in bed, thrashing—

meaning zippity-brouhaha
in a language I keep forgetting
you don’t speak.


A sentence
begins and ends

in the present
but on the way

we need to hurry.

is a slave song
commissioned by Walt Disney.

Elmer Fudd aims
his blunderbuss,

his boundless, abstract


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