Poem of the Week | May 01, 2017

This week, we are excited to present a new poem by Emily Rosko. Rosko is the author of Prop Rockery (University of Akron Press 2012) and Raw Goods Inventory (University of Iowa Press 2006). She is the editor of A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line (University of Iowa Press 2011), and poetry editor for Crazyhorse. She teaches creative writing to undergraduates and graduates in the new MFA Program at the College of Charleston.

Author’s note:

This poem is about the many things—keepsakes, grudges—we hold onto. Some of these things are quite silly.


For Sakes


You arrived and all the old troubles
lined up on the shelf. In each jar, bits
of an argument or tokened omen—
the scuffed-off pieces of the people


we imagined we might become.
The vinegar sting preserves the flesh
of grudges that won’t wear away. An oilcloth
saturated through, curl of hair, first cutting


teeth. Even spring cannot rid us
of the accumulated trinkets, these remainders
that stare us down, enclosed
in vague-yellow glass as if embalmed


by the witness the sun casts
on our stubborn heads. Trophies
to lost causes, there you are! Trifles
filed away with care: receipts


and price tags, damp matchbooks, candy
wrappers including the lollipop stick.
The lint I suffered on the twelfth day:
residue of our worst ways. Dusty


incorrectables, intangibles a sour
milk to accompany our daily tea and biscuits.
So here we are, my fellow pack-rat, rummaging
through it all, ready once again to bite.