On Reading Lowell’s Imitations of Sappho


What is nearest at hand … these nerves
in my fingertips are eyes, five pairs of eyes
pressing the pillow where your head might lie,
looking for your face, one day. Time,

now and then, allows for intimation
that abides like the rings around Saturn.
I can easily make you understand this
for it’s not love that’s evasive,

it’s the years spent void of course,
perfecting a face in the empty mirrors
of memory. Yet all those rooms I slept in
I know now their corners were touching;

each echoed where I’d already been
until I could see through the walls, just as a poem
when at last it finds its true form
seems as though it’s been written before.

from Sidereal (Picador, 2011), © Rachael Boast 2011, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Rachael Boast in the Poetry Store

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