Rae Armantrout


How did the synthesis
cross the abyss?


In a sentimental story
there is only one

of something:
one newborn,

one moment, one
“once,” embalmed

in myrrh.


All I want
is not to be

first on one side,
then the other,

but to conjure
a stream

of sounds and images
for which I am not

and maneuver within it –

mouth and tail
one thought.


The sea, now full
of cannibal

jellies, blue
if the sky says so


Rae Armantrout is professor emerita of writing at the University of California, San Diego, and the author of thirteen previous books of poetry, most recently Partly.