By Kay Ryan b. 1945 Kay Ryan
The wreck   
is a fact.   
The worst   
has happened.   
The salvage trucks   
back in and   
the salvage men   
begin to sort   
and stack,   
whistling as   
they work.   
Thanks be   
to god—again—   
for extractable elements   
which are not   
carriers of pain,   
for this periodic   
table at which   
the self-taught   
salvagers disassemble   
the unthinkable   
to the unthought.

Source: Poetry (April 2005).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2005 issue of Poetry magazine

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April 2005
 Kay  Ryan


Born in California in 1945 and acknowledged as one of the most original voices in the contemporary landscape, Kay Ryan is the author of several books of poetry, including Flamingo Watching (2006), The Niagara River (2005), and Say Uncle (2000). Her book The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (2010) won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Ryan's tightly compressed, rhythmically dense poetry is often compared to that of Emily . . .

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