Poem of the Week | September 22, 2009

This week we’re proud to feature “Nervous Tic,” a previously unpublished poem by Sally Keith.  Design, her first book, won the 2000 Colorado Prize, judged by Allen Grossman.  Her second manuscript, Dwelling Song, was chosen for publication by Bin Ramke and Fanny Howe for the University of Georgia’s Contemporary Poetry Series.  She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize; has published poems in numerous journals, including: Denver QuarterlyColorado ReviewVoltA Public Space, andForklift, Ohio; and has received fellowships from The Breadloaf Writer’s Conference,  Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and most recently from the Brown Foundation Fellows Residence Program at the Dora Maar House in Menerbes, France.  She is currently a faculty member of George Mason University’s MFA program in Poetry.

Nervous Tic

My history is uninteresting, or
I have nothing to speak into the face of my love.
My desk is facing my own reflection in a too large TV.
Trucks have been reversing all morning.
All morning trucks have been moving through gears.
A string of high pitched sounds repeating.
The wind through the window can be measured in doses.
The wind, scraping the outer edges of my ears, exposes
The pale undersides of sycamore leaves, knocking
At seed pods hanging in brown bunches
So that they helicopter down.
Slag heap, mad slack, taut song:
Which morning am I making up now?
A wall of cotton disperses in the wind.
Somewhere wild animals are seeking cool hollows
In which to lay themselves down.
There slate layers cake the riverbank clay
And they lay themselves down.  For example,
My desk is facing my own reflection in a too large TV,
While waiting outside my room the terrier sprawls.