Early Elegy: Smallpox

By Claudia Emerson 1957–2014 Claudia Emerson
The world has certified itself rid of
all but the argument: to eradicate or not
the small stock of variola frozen,
quarantined—a dormancy it has
refused, just once, for a woman behind a sterile
lens, her glass slide a clearest, most
becoming pane. How could it resist slipping
away with her, that discrete first pock?

Source: Poetry (June 2012).

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2012
 Claudia  Emerson

Biography

Born and raised in Chatham, Virginia, Claudia Emerson studied writing at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Her poetry, steeped in the Southern Narrative tradition, bears the influences of Ellen Bryant Voigt, Betty Adcock, and William Faulkner. Of the collection Late Wife (2005), poet Deborah Pope observed, “Like the estranged lover in one of her poems who pitches horseshoes in the dark with preternatural precision, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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