Fragment of a Women from Kos

By Susan Mitchell b. 1944 Susan Mitchell
At first all you see are the folds
of drapery, high grass close together, swaying
beads you parted as a child, field behind
the house, then river. Sky.
You were told finches lived there, red-
winged, tipsy, upside down their hold
on the reeds, even so
they sang, trilling over and over
your outstretched hands song
poured like seeds from a basket or from
a bowl, water.
                   There was a woman,
young, beautiful—you used to hug her
from behind, closing your hands
over the cry of surprise
she gave out
like perfume. Now here
she is, rising
from the dead
landscape of memory, just this
fragment of her, still   

"Fragment of a Woman from Kos" from Rapture by Susan Mitchell. Copyright © 1992 by Susan Mitchell. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers,

Source: Rapture (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1992)

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Poet Susan Mitchell b. 1944

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Youth, Time & Brevity, Painting & Sculpture, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Imagery, Pastoral, Ekphrasis


Susan Mitchell is the author of three collections of poetry, The Water Inside the Water (1983); Rapture (1992), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and a finalist for the National Book Award; and Erotikon (2000). Her poems have appeared in magazines and journals such as the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, Fence, among others. The recipient of three Pushcart Prizes, Mitchell’s other awards include fellowships from the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Youth, Time & Brevity, Painting & Sculpture, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Imagery, Pastoral, Ekphrasis

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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