Rae Armantrout



For lack of which
we put ourselves
in a cop’s place

as he puts himself
inside the head
of a serial killer rapist

who appears to be
teasing the police. 


Bare tree
is to human skeleton

as the holy spirit
likens objects


to make the world up
of provisional pairs. 


It makes sense
to turn that corner
in a black sedan

and to write down
everything that passes.

To quick-step up the street
in a knit red cap
one time only.


Red cap is to
one time only

(originally published in pool magazine)



Sad, fat boy in pirate hat.
Long, old, dented,
copper-colored Ford.

How many traits
must a thing have
in order to be singular?

(Echo persuades us
everything we say
has been said at least once

Two plump, bald men
in gray tee-shirts
and tan shorts

are walking a small bulldog –
followed by the eyes
of an invisible third person.

The Trinity was born
from what we know
of the bitter

symbiosis of couples.
Can we reduce echo’s sadness
by synchronizing our speeches?

Is it the beginning or end
of real love
when we pity a person

because, in him,
we see ourselves?

(originally published in Van Gogh's Ear)