Poem of the Week | July 01, 2011

This week we are proud to feature “Invocation: A Fragment” by Nadine Sabra Meyer. You can find the print version in our current issue, TMR 34:1 (though you might want to hurry, since our new issue drops very soon!). Meyer was a finalist this year for our Editor’s Prize. Her first book of poems, The Anatomy Theater, won the National Poetry Series and was published by HarperCollins in 2006. Her poems have won the New Letters Prize for Poetry as well as a Pushcart Prize. New poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Southern Review, Southwest Review, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, Literary Imagination and Boulevard. Nadine is an assistant professor at Gettysburg College.

Author’s Note:

Drawing on images which rise dream-like from a personal landscape, these poems attempt to communicate what I find hardest to say, the movement of my mind within itself. So much of the way we perceive the world is dependent (not on what has happened to us, the storylines of our lives) but on how we piece those fragments of experience together. […] “Atrium,” “Invocation: A Fragment” and “Sanctuary: A Premonition,” attempt to articulate a central human experience which is primarily non-linguistic. For this, I found it necessary to turn to a more surreal language, one which is highly imagistic, a language which resonates against a self, beyond the conscious mind. All four of these poems are drawn from my new manuscript, A Toast to Grief.

Invocation: A Fragment

The riptide’s call, the willow’s conflagration,

loss’s swaddled robin. I could have loved you in my crenulated

dark, a flaw, globed and fingerprinted, a pearl beneath

my tongue. Instead, this plush dark. Come, emptiness,

the bell wired to its ring. Come, a field is burning in the sun.

Come, for loss is vagrant, is familiar as the body I live in.

Though I am staggered, I am not undone.

..     ..     ..

Late winter my mother would watch for the first robin, a sign of spring,

she’d say, though it is the chickadee who trills the phantom of my childhood


back to me, its plaintive, insistent calling of its own name

on a high branch outside my bedroom window: chickadee-dee-dee, its call


my infinite fine-boned reflection in the medicine cabinet glass,

a stuttered desire of notes, a throat hollowed by hunger.