Covers

By Rae Armantrout b. 1947 Rae Armantrout
The man
slapped her bottom   
like a man did
in a video,

then he waited   
as if for shadow
to completely cover the sun.

Moments later   
archeologists found him.

*

The idea that they were reenacting something which had been staged in the first place bothered her. If she wanted to go on, she’d need to ignore this limp chronology. She assumed he was conscious of the same constraint. But she almost always did want to proceed. Procedure! If only either one of them believed in the spontaneity of the original actors and could identify with one. Be one. For this to work, she reasoned, one of us would have to be gone.

*
“Well, look who missed   
the fleeting moment,”

Green Giant gloats   
over dazed children.

If to transpose   
is to know,

we can cover our losses.

But only   
If talking,

Formerly food,

Now meant   
Not now

So recovery   
Ran rings.

If to traverse   
is to envelop,

I am held
and sung to sleep.

Rae Armantrout, “Covers” from Veil: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2001 by Rae Armantrout. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: Veil: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2001)

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Poet Rae Armantrout b. 1947

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Heartache & Loss, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Prose Poem, Mixed

 Rae  Armantrout

Biography

Rae Armantrout, one of the founding members of the West Coast group of Language poets, stands apart from other Language poets in her lyrical voice and her commitment to the interior and the domestic. Her short-lined poems are often concerned with dismantling conventions of memory, pop culture, science, and mothering, and these unsparing interrogations are often streaked with wit. “You can hold the various elements of my poems in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Heartache & Loss, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Prose Poem, Mixed

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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