poem index

About this poet

Born in 1967 and raised in New York City; Rebecca Wolff earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1993, and in 1997 founded the literary journal Fence.

She is the author of The King (W.W. Norton, 2009); Figment (W.W. Norton, 2004); and Manderley (2001), which was selected by Robert Pinsky for the 2000 National Poetry Series.

She lives in Athens, New York, with her husband and two children. She currently teaches classes for the New York State Writers Institute in Poetry and Creative Writing.

Visions of Never Being Heard from Again

Rebecca Wolff
I stopped by to see you but you were not home

marshland

the pure vision

my ancient lives all risen up and rising



shudder in my bed to come up against

a living religion; they get offended so easily;

blow up your hundred-foot Buddha

no problem. Entire mountainside.



Presumably it's an improvement

on whatever came before

on what was here before

ancestral crypt your daddy built; a grassy hill; a patchwork quilt;
     inadequately warming.

Copyright © 2010 by Rebecca Wolff. Used with permission of the author.

Rebecca Wolff

Rebecca Wolff

The founder of the literary journal Fence, Rebecca Wolff's collection Manderley was selected for the 2000 National Poetry Series

by this poet

poem
Half a day is dead already--
a lady with a baby in the shady graveyard
promenade not quite the idea
but the first idea to be impressed
so firmly--Grace to be born

in the
bisected quadrangle
stones propped insensible
but all in relation
to the babe.

Babe what suckles
babe what grows comfortable with thieves in
poem
I'd like a 
lidless 

Vicodin. 
Oblivion.

Countless 
sensation of him

leaving the room.
Come back soon.

It occurred to me
fait accompli.

Clinamen.
Phantom limb.

Black cat sleeping
(you used to be

next to me)
next to me

dreams our lost 
telepathy.
poem
Primarily

I am a mother.
When he was sick;

I engaged his imagination
with a book—

the perfect—I seized it; his
weakened defenses.

This is the way I have
filled his mind

egg and milk and butter and bread
all together—

that's a lot for a small child to take in.
Like Maisie

in the novel is a sieve.
What we