Two Poems | Rae Armantrout | Granta

Two Poems

Rae Armantrout


Sleep is my boyfriend,
my mother, my boss.

It tells me
disjointed stories – news

of the night

I am walking on the fragile
bodies of dolls.

No I’m not!
It’s something else:

‘A sentimental journey
through a doomsday scenario.’

Then we’re back
with the anger re-enactors

hired to grease the skids.








In the midst of the evident collapse,
I’m bored. What is there left
to say, I say.

I could make a flame
sound like the flick
of a lizard’s tongue,

then like a human
on a pond

of hot wax.

I can’t say
burning oil,

but I can make you think it.

Don’t think of that old canard,
‘Don’t think of an elephant.’

Do you like the word

Shall we fall in love
with the small transparent
dancing girl? Call her

Tinker Bell?


Image © Takuma Nakagawa

Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout’s most recent books are Finalists, Conjure and Wobble. In 2010 her book Versed won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is the current judge of the Yale Younger Poets Prize.

Photograph © Andrea-Augé

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