1. Home
  2. Poetry Magazine
  3. Poems
  4. At the Poetry Reading
At the Poetry Reading

Related Poem Content Details

I can’t keep my eyes off the poet’s
wife’s legs—they’re so much more
beautiful than anything he might
be saying, though I’m no longer
in a position really to judge,
having stopped listening some time ago.
He’s from the Iowa Writers Workshop
and can therefore get along fine
without my attention. He started in
reading poems about his childhood—
barns, cornsnakes, gradeschool, flowers,
that sort of stuff—the loss of
innocence he keeps talking about
between poems, which I can relate to,
especially under these circumstances.
Now he’s on to science, a poem
about hydrogen, I think, he’s trying
to imagine himself turning into hydrogen.
Maybe he’ll succeed. I’m imagining
myself sliding up his wife’s fluid,
rhythmic, lusciously curved, black-
stockinged legs, imagining them arched
around my shoulders, wrapped around my back.
My God, why doesn’t he write poems about her!
He will, no doubt, once she leaves him,
leaves him for another poet, perhaps,
the observant, uninnocent one, who knows
a poem when it sits down in a room with him.




Source: Poetry (Poetry Foundation, 1998)

More from this issue

This poem originally appeared in the June 1998 issue of Poetry magazine

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.Search the whole site

At the Poetry Reading

Related Poem Content Details

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.Search the whole site

Other Information