By Sandra McPherson b. 1943 Sandra McPherson
We are dropping one and gaining two—.
The things I cannot do

include to sleep,
to calm the spillway of the blood,

to face an auditorium,
wishing it were churchy pillbox hats—

recital mothers’—
with no sense of Vogue or the Baroque.

I’ve other pills
to tramp on grief,

estrange pain,
and hatch the part of waking that is dreams,

double one dose to un-depress
and to write less and less

a chronicle of anxiety.

I spot-treat
a spate of addiction

in this faint dusk world
of peach sky and plum leaflets—

a woman in her prime,
pilled together.

Source: Poetry (September 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the September 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2009
 Sandra  McPherson


Sandra McPherson weaves vivid images culled from nature into what Contemporary Women Poets contributor David Young characterizes as "rich, complex, and deeply satisfying poems." In collections that include the National Book Award-nominated The Year of Our Birth, 1988's At the Grave of Hazel Hall, and 1996's Edge Effect: Trails and Portrayals, McPherson has increasingly honed her unsentimental, insightful verse, imbuing it with . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Midlife

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.