Rae Armantrout Four Poems

The Way


Card in pew pocket


“I am here.”


I made only one statement

because of a bad winter.


Grease is the word; grease

is the way


I am feeling.

Real life emergencies or


flubbing behind the scenes.


As a child,

I was abandoned


in a story

made of trees.


Here’s the small



of this clearing

come “upon” “again”

Rae Armantrout


I’m thinking about you and you’re humming while cutting a piece of wood.

I’m positive you aren’t thinking about me which is fine as long as you

aren’t thinking about yourself. I know and love the way you inhabit

this house and the occasions we mutually create. But I don’t know

the man you picture when you see yourself walking around

the world inside your head and I’m jealous

of the attention you pay that person

whom I suspect

of being devious.




are from Rae Armantrout’s

new book, Wobble, (2018).




What if the ability

to capture

emblems in the wild

won’t validate us?


What if displaying

our embarrassing flaws

won’t save us —


say being dead

but kittenish?





I can’t show you anything

new, not even


an empty room

behind a velvet rope.


Least of all that!


There’s a Lexus

spinning in a parking lot


because a mountain road is

“so cliché.”



It’s throwing up dust, then more,

but you know the car’s


still in there



still voguing






metal roses,


metal pinwheels,


metal faces

at the ends of

metal tongs




Look at all

the time

they had to mean!




Poets wanted

to bounce the leaves,


to burn the sun,


to modulate the day

as the engine noise

does not.

To replace the bird

and replace the bird again


in a new way.




There are things

you will be asked

to make note of.


You may be asked

whether a light

is brighter or dimmer

than before

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