Trying to Get Through

By Eleanor Ross Taylor 1920–2011
I make a knife of words.
I sit here waiting.
I play with crumbs.

Her eyes that should look
straight at me are
toward the window, glazed—
husband’s horizon?

Not armored. Only armed
with pots and pans.
Not out of arm’s reach,
beyond curtains of doorbells,
garden gates.

She puts up ironwork
in her eyes; it draws a bolt
over what’s real—
then looks at me.

I wish I’d brought my saw.

Source: Poetry (October 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2010
 Eleanor Ross Taylor


Eleanor Ross Taylor was born in 1920 in Norwood, North Carolina, and graduated from Women’s College, now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, in 1942.  While studying at Vanderbilt University, Caroline and Allen Tate introduced her to novelist Peter Taylor, whom she would marry in 1943. Her poetry has been described as elegiac, lyric and feminine; writer Erica Howsare explains, “The southernness of her background . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Men & Women

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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