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When Robert Lowell Broke Jean Stafford's Nose For The Second Time

When Robert Lowell broke Jean Stafford’s nose

for the second time, something happened to poetry,

vascular, circulatory, an unstable shift in the tender stem

of the coming years,

as the introduction of sulfuric acid to soil

alters hydrangeas to a boy-child blue.

Are you alright, poetry? He hit her hard.

Her pain was exquisite and private,

a castle with seven rooms.

In the final room, the brain shivered, gem-like,

palpable as mathematics.

Doors opened, doors wavered in passive arcs,

beneath a moon unsuitable for metaphor.

What would have been the point, anyway,

of such dreaming? Against the backdrop of the unreachable

planets, pigeons navigate their evening,

soundless at such a distance, seeming graceful, yes,

but terrified, shedding almost everything naïve.

from On This Day in Poetry HistoryFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2016
Used with permissions of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Amy Newman Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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