Is Rhea a figure from mythology, or someone you actually knew...or imagined?
I have never met anyone named Rhea. One day the question, “Does Rhea think?” came into my mind and wouldn’t go away.
Tell us about the form of the poem, please.
I played with the repeated question, and the form felt solid when it reached the current visual shape. The poem is mindless, possibly like Rhea.
We pictured orange juice on reading the poem’s title. Were we far off?
It could be orange juice, or it could be the sounds of the words. Or it could be a polite request for “more juice,” and the poem gives us ten glasses.
Again, why would a poem like this make a reader smile; in other words, how do you think a poem like this works? Did you intend readers to smile?
I intend the smile but understand that some readers will frown. I have no idea how the poem works. In much of my writing a phrase or piece of information strikes me as ironic, and I experiment with it in different, arbitrary forms. The words may come from a road sign, newspaper, conversation, or e-mail, or the words may enter my head on their own authority, as they did in this poem.
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This poem originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of Poetry magazine