Pallid, thin skinnedpotatoes bunched
on yellow stems.
I can’t remembermy mother
This is not the motherI remember.
When askedif she’s frightened,
the raped childwhispers
that she is afraidof ghosts.
We inquire about heavenas we might
about a nursing home.
Will I get email there?
Will I have insights
and someoneto be pleased with them?
Will that personbe faking it?
Will she be under orders?
Will my wordsseem foreign?
“Twee, twee!”some sound insists.
Fairy tales enchant the cast-off
of the third person.
You watch the stormbear down on you
“I hope I neverhave to live
Find Nemoin the sea
of bodies,ooze and muscle,
The remoteis for later,
as I oftentell myself.
Is it possible to speakof rules
the mouth of God?
He said, “You must goeverywhere
and you should takethe shortcut.”
The angels respondedat once,
Thus they are knownas messengers -
though they bringnothing
but their gowns.
The rest of usstand still,
by the hostilityof pronouns
[note. Armantrout’s most recent book-length publication was Money Shot, published last year by Wesleyan University Press. An earlier collection, Versed (2009), received both a Pulitzer Prize & a National Book Critics Circle Award, while her connection to the most innovative side of American & world poetry remains as strong as ever. Previous postings on Poems & Poetics can be found here & here, as well as Marjorie Perloff’s essay “An Afterword for Rae Armantrout.” (J.R.)]