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About this Poem 

"'Roar Shack' begins with a depiction of God or omniscience as an ink blot, a Rorschach that's configured in various ways, depending on who's looking into it. I used to feel that some entity was witnessing everything that happened, and this assumption of accompaniment ran so deep I didn't realize it existed until it was destroyed. The poem moves from a sense of hope to a hollowness created by trauma and witness: the numbness that follows an encounter with brutality—a brutality that suggests the absence of God."
—Alice Fulton

Roar Shack

Alice Fulton, 1952

Many see a flutterby when they look into this

omniscience I see as a skinniness too densely drawn
or a mystery unhinged by its own symmetry, a twinning
I think of as a listener that thinks along
with me, fused in a tweed, a red herring-
bone weave in the dazzling darkness
and bleached afterness some see

as a necklace of brilliants curved in gift. As if!

A color visible only in ultra-
violet light or a source beyond mathematics I think
of as a second self, an underhum. Or thought. Till I saw
innocence tortured by a force
beyond kindness, an unconditional indifference

or wick for wickedness that wanted trauma dolls.

I tell this as a clock tells time but telling can’t diminish it

as clocks can’t dwindle time. Am I still alive?
Birds that sing behind a waterfall, horses kneeling
Christmas Eve are what others see in what I see
as us delivered up to this chill that searches me.

Copyright © 2013 by Alice Fulton. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 6, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Alice Fulton

Alice Fulton

Born in 1952, Alice Fulton was raised in Troy, New York, her book Felt was awarded the 2002 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress

by this poet

poem
Because life's too short to blush,
I keep my blood tucked in.
I won't be mortified
by what I drive or the flaccid
vivacity of my last dinner party.
I take my cue from statues posing only
in their shoulder pads of snow: all January
you can see them working on their granite tans.

That I woke at an ungainly hour,