Poetry — August 21, 2013 10:52 — 1 Comment

The Tangible, Intangible – Susan Rich

after a photograph by Hannah Maynard
on the death of her child, c. 1887


Afterwards, she surveys the site:
the jostled cups, a buffalo rug
faded burlap of bookcase

overstuffed with tromp l’oeil painted spines.

The sound of the photograph
would be island rain
and the animal cry of the child gone—

In the darkroom she works alone

cajoles waterfalls, brings to light
the floating picture frame,
the doily’s difficult knowledge —

Commonplace days she survives
with a mirror trick, a few glass plates
that echo don’t let go; let go.


Susan Rich is the author of three collections of poetry, The Alchemist’s Kitchen (2010) named a finalist for the Foreword Prize and the Washington State Book Award, Cures Include Travel (2006), and The Cartographer’s Tongue / Poems of the World (2000) winner of the PEN Award for Poetry. She has received awards from The Times Literary Supplement of London, Peace Corps Writers and the Fulbright Foundation. Individual poems have appeared in the Harvard Review, Poetry International, and The Southern Review. House of Sky, her fourth book, is due out from White Pine Press in 2015.

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney