Rae Armantrout



I live as if
an angry woman
were shouting, “Say something!”


of the vine-leaves

had a pink tinge,
a trick of the eye

one of us thought,
but we came back

to fully formed, hot pink

each one
with two yellow

eyes, protruding
on thin stalks


So this was
“the fullness of time.”


We produce ourselves
by reading scripts

on current happenings.

(There is no telling
where I leave off

My Pleasure

Red brick pillars
prop the roof
of a corrugated tin shack.


It is my pleasure
and my privilege
not to understand this.


A swooping disc
of loud starlings
takes its evening spin
above the park.


Skinny horses
pulling carriages
bearing the logo


It is from this distance
that the object
into an image.

Going Somewhere

You have been incorporated
as a pass-through.


I like your style,
studiedly casual,

more yellow than green

and the green a slapdash
watercolor impression

of a leaf
on leaf.

You allude to yourself
in passing

and this works well,
if not for you
then for somebody.


Substitute optimistically!

The Wig


As long as —

if —

a Harpo Marx wig

of virtual


surrounds each thing:

a giddy frizz
of small round leaves —

why not? —

atop springy stems

from the squat
fused trunks

of bursera
in the window



expressions form,


and die back

on an infant’s face.


Even when not
searching for help
the eye turns
from yellow
tree to tree
in November.


The long, naked
gaze between old
woman and infant
is whole,
real as anything
will be now,
she thinks,
though she knows
the child won’t remember
this, will barely
remember her.


A locked gaze
is immersion;
she feels herself floating.
But now the baby


“Going to the chapel and
Gee, I really love you and we’re
Going to the chapel
of love,”

sang the Dixie Cups

to nobody
about no one

a long time ago

and a million people bought it.

The circular logic
already fully automated.


Some might say
this is (you are)
too convoluted, contrived,


Small calm
your just opened eyes
see we can’t see what

Rae Armantrout is the author of 13 books of poetry. Her book Versed (Wesleyan) won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. Her most recent book, also from Wesleyan, is Partly: New and Selected poems. Recently retired from UC San Diego, she will soon be relocating to the Seattle area.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.