The Apophatic

By Nance Van Winckel Nance Van Winckel
How can it not be
about engine,
secret blaze behind
the wheels? How not about
this no-way-to-resist seeing   
but one side or another   
since the rails quite insist
& iron's so right, always
running off its own might.   
How never about freightage
or the outdoor face
in the indoor light?
A yesteryear's pall
over the day at hand? Not
about the passings-by
of nailed-shut houses
& grouse setting sail
from a rusty swing?   
How not me out of uniform,   
out of a sleeper's berth,
bare & barely rising   
atop smoke & so little air left
in the soft underbelly   
that I may meet—nay, embrace—
the hello-goodbye cloud.

Source: Poetry (June 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2008
 Nance  Van Winckel


Nance Van Winckel’s sixth book of poems, Pacific Walkers (University of Washington Press), and her fourth collection of stories, 
Boneland (Univeristy of Oklahoma Press), were published in 2013.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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