[I never wish to sing again as I used to . . .]

By Karen Volkman b. 1967 Karen Volkman

     I never wish to sing again as I used to, when two new eyes could
always stain the sea, of tangent worlds, indolent as callows, and the clock
went backward for a skip, to rise, to set.
      Some will twine grass to fit in a thimble, some will carve bread to
mend a craggy wall, some in the slantest midnight cry for sleep. When
the pitch-owl swallows the moon, what welt will show it? Sighing helps
nothing, raspberries raw and green, in the form of a heart
      imperfectly divided. A wave grows sharper close to the shore. Some
own words like strips of scape and summon. It is possible to suffer even
in the sun. And race the steep noon to its highest, hoary gate. Stares
drop under the sky; silence of a windslap; and a scar drifts out of air to
stand whistling:
      She who listens poorly will always be calling. She who sounds silence
drowns with the dumb.
      She who cuts her hands off must drink with her tongue.

Karen Volkman, “[I never wish to sing again as I used to . . .]” from Spar. Copyright © 2002 by Karen Volkman. Reprinted by permission of University of Iowa Press.

Source: Spar (University of Iowa Press, 2002)

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Poet Karen Volkman b. 1967

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Living, The Body, The Mind, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 Karen  Volkman


Born in Miami, poet Karen Volkman earned a BA at New College and an MA at Syracuse University and completed a year of doctoral studies at the University of Houston. Her poetry collections include Crash’s Law (1996), selected for the National Poetry Series by Heather McHugh; Spar (2002), which won the James Laughlin Award and the Iowa Poetry Prize; and Nomina (2008). Her poetry has been featured in the anthologies The New . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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