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Coup & Bell Curve

COUP

 

Mallarmé’s gambling

astonished everyone

even the poets

 

An acre of paper

sold down a river

whose blackbirds

would only

fly backwards

 

To abolish

a missing passage

 

The ‘never’

of printlessness

shipwrecked within

the greater blues

of untrackable changes

 

A fight thrown

across a border

unmaintained

as the spyware of the future

in which we used to live

 

 

 

 

BELL CURVE

 

A church, a school, a train

almost converge

Uncharming insect

unhanded bird

What we can’t see

won’t always kill us

with its unchained

sequence of events:

Kings Row, Folsom Prison

Charlie and the MTA

I hang my head

and try not to think

about what is

and isn’t food

Everything thrown

back into the stream

A train insists

as if the world

were in its way

The inland sea

is mostly corn

A fever dissolving

in the interrupted

air that bends

your clouds into the trees

with the unframed

excess of a dare

It’s in the middle

It’s just enough

 

 

‘Coup’ will appear in Elizabeth Willis’s forthcoming collection, Alive, out April 2015 from NYRB Poets.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

is the author of Address (2011), which received the PEN New England/L. L. Winship Prize, and four previous books of poetry. Her second book, The Human Abstract (1995), was selected for the National Poetry Series. Her next book, Alive, is out 14 April, 2015 from NYRB Poets. A recent Guggenheim fellow in poetry, she teaches at Wesleyan University.

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