Almost a Conjuror

By Lucie Brock-Broido b. 1956 Lucie Brock-Broido
The slight white poet would assume non-human forms, homely   
Grampus fish, a wahoo, nuthatch, nit.

                                                      He had no romance except   
Remorse, which he used like fuzzy algebra. By pouring bluing

On black porous coal, he crystallized, pronounced himself almost   
A sorcerer. He had an empty cloakroom

                                                      In the chest of him.
                                                      All the lost wool scarves

Of all the world collected there & muffled him   
                                                      With wool.

He imagined he could move a broom if he desired, just by wishing   
It. If he spoke of ghosts, he thought he could make of art vast

                                                      Tattersall & spreading wings.   
When they found him in the nurse’s office,

He was awkward as a charlatan, slightly queasy
                                                      In an emperor’s real clothes.

The thermos in his lunchbox was perpetually   
Broken and he lied. The small world smelled of oil

Of peppermint, for a broken spell. Everything is plaid
                                                      And sour in oblivion, as well.

Lucie Brock-Broido, “Almost a Conjuror” from Trouble in Mind. Copyright © 2004 by Lucie Brock-Broido. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Source: Trouble in Mind (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004)

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Poet Lucie Brock-Broido b. 1956

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Lucie  Brock-Broido


Lucie Brock-Broido was born in Pittsburgh, was educated at Johns Hopkins and Columbia University, and has taught at Bennington, Princeton, Harvard (where she was a Briggs-Copeland poet), and Columbia. She is the recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as awards from the American Poetry Review and the Academy of American Arts and Letters.

In an interview with Carol Maso for BOMB magazine in . . .

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SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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