'Bent Orbit'

Elaine Equi
Becket Logan

Elaine Equi's newest collection, Ripple Effect: New and Selected Poems, includes this new work, "Bent Orbit." The poet August Kleinzahler says Equi's poems "have a mystery to them that their offhandedness and surface whimsy belie. Reading her, you may find the world becomes a more unstable, various, and gently freaky place."

To mark National Poetry Month, NPR.org is featuring a series of newly published works selected by the Academy of American Poets. Learn more about this and other titles at the academy's New Spring Books list.

"Bent Orbit"

Elaine Equis

 

I wind my way across a black donut hole

and space that clunks.

Once I saw on a stage,

as if at the bottom of a mineshaft,

the precise footwork

of some mechanical ballet.

It was like looking into the brain

of a cuckoo clock and it carried

some part of me away forever.

No one knows when they first see a thing,

how long its after image will last.

Proust could stare at the symptom of a face

for years, while Frank O'Hara, like anyone with a job,

was always looking at his watch.

My favorite way of remembering is to forget.

Please start the record of the sea over again.

Call up a shadow below the pendulum of a gull's wing.

In a city of eight million sundials, nobody has any idea

how long a minute really is.

Books Featured In This Story

Ripple Effect
Ripple Effect

New and Selected Poems

by Elaine Equi

Paperback, 269 pages | purchase

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New and Selected Poems
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