Sostenuto

By Linda Gregerson b. 1950 Linda Gregerson
              Night. Or what

                                       they have of  it at altitude
like this, and filtered
                           air, what was

in my lungs just an hour ago is now
                            in yours,
                                         there’s only so much air to go

                around. They’re making
more people, my father would say,

                              but nobody’s making more land.
                                                          When my daughters
were little and played in their bath,

                           they invented a game whose logic
              largely escaped me —
                                         something to do with the

                                                     disposition
of   bubbles and plastic ducks — until
               I asked them what they called it. They

                             were two and four. The game
was Oil Spill.
              Keeping the ducks alive, I think,

                                        was what you were supposed to
                                                    contrive, as long
            as you could make it last. Up here

                           in borrowed air,
in borrowed bits of   heat, in costly
                                           cubic feet of  steerage we’re
                            a long

              held note, as when the choir would seem
to be more
                            than human breath could manage. In

                                       the third age, says the story, they
divided up the earth. And that was when
              the goddess turned away from them.

Source: Poetry (May 2013).

 Linda  Gregerson

Biography

Linda Gregerson is the author of several collections of poetry and literary criticism. A Renaissance scholar, a classically trained actor, and a devotee of the sciences, Gregerson produces lyrical poems informed by her expansive reading that are inquisitive, unflinching, and tender. Tracing the connections she finds between science and poetry, Gregerson says, “I think there are rhythms of thought, fragile propositions about the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Parenthood, Time & Brevity, Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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