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I Didn't See It

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for Adam

And I didn't see that now you were here on the page 
writing poems too: poems silken with blue, fortified
with a metaphor passing through. But I knew this speaker
was you and knew there was so much about you that could reach
around the metaphor to a personal etymology, one that could brighten
and darken the poem without too many over-determined moves.
But if you, speaker, need figures—more than language— who bless
the poem's grief with vantage points or an altitude high
up, or bandages soaked in vinegar, sure, then let the speaker
invent a mirage, I understand that, too. It's tough these days when
anxiety speaks through the fission of thought; it's the piss-pot
of the mind. What anchors the fisted pronoun "we" in your poem?
Something must. And another thing, upon second read,
only now do I see how the "you" and "I" of someone else's poem
landed in yours: on that particular cited greenery.
And these other pronouns know—ahead of time-
to check the soles of their shoes and how to manage
a homonym's feet; moreover, they told you, speaker,
how to open and shut the door without too much invention
or conviction, which in a poem is rare.
Prageeta Sharma, "I Didn't See It" from Undergloom. Copyright © 2013 by Prageeta Sharma.  Reprinted by permission of Prageeta Sharma.
Source: Undergloom (Fence Books, 2013)
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I Didn't See It

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  • Poet Prageeta Sharma was born in Framingham, Massachusetts. Her parents emigrated from India in 1969, and Sharma was raised a Hindu. She has acknowledged the influence of her parents’ religion on her poetry: “I was taught to honor knowledge and books like a religion and so for me poetry keeps this relationship close, true, active,” she told the journal Willow Springs. Sharma attended Simon’s Rock College of Bard as an undergraduate and earned her MFA from Brown University and an MA in media studies from The New School. Her collections of poetry include Bliss to Fill (2000), The Opening Question (2004), which won the Fence Modern Poets Prize, Infamous Landscapes (2007), and Undergloom (2013). Sharma has spoken of her work in terms of thought rather than narrative. In Willow Springs, she noted, “It’s important to explore a variety of cognitive experiences in the poem rather than just telling a story.”

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