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About this poet

Sally Ball is the author of two poetry collections: Wreck Me (Barrow Street Press, 2013) and Annus Mirabilis (Barrow Street Press, 2005). The recipient of fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the James Merrill House, and the Ucross Foundation, among others, Ball is an associate professor of English at Arizona State University and an associate director at Four Way Books.

People of New York

I know you are dying
as always, even you big ones
from Queens, or from Nyack,
and I’m in the habit
of checking the clock,
midnight again. Again no
phone call, no lungs
expanding and contracting
with some machine
for a brain while the hospital
empties and a family consents
and either in person or over the phone
offers up the life left
in the life that is leaving them.

My father asleep in his bed.

People of New York
New Jersey Connecticut:
I was born there, and he was,
and we lived there and married
and drove to the sea.

They can come from as far
as South Carolina; the doctors
say motorcycle season
is often a good time of year.

Thank you, you bikers.
                       Be careful, be
careful—

We’re eighteen months into
the eighteen-month window.
They’re dying, I know it,
B+ tall guys
whose lungs vanish
into a furnace, into the ground.

People of New York:
I wish you long lives.
I have no sense of coming
before you, but I know
you are dying as always.
Can you please check the box—
through the DMV,
through the registries?
Have you said, Make me useful,
if the time comes? Dear?

Copyright © 2013 Sally Ball. “People of New York” originally appeared in Wreck Me (Barrow Street, 2013). Used with permission of the author.

 

Copyright © 2013 Sally Ball. “People of New York” originally appeared in Wreck Me (Barrow Street, 2013). Used with permission of the author.

 

Sally Ball

Sally Ball

Sally Ball is the author of two poetry collections: Wreck Me (Barrow Street Press, 2013) and Annus Mirabilis (Barrow Street Press, 2005).

by this poet

poem

I.

In retrospect there is no side to choose:
in math, Newton was earliest to make the formulas contort and yield
but never told a soul; and Leibniz, a little later,
did the same startling calculations somewhat differently,
and published them, as was his way:

poem

The mind doesn’t do what we want it to do.

Mine plays speed Scrabble; it sifts pages and pages

of pictures of shoes. Palmyra goodbye. Temple of Bel not a pun

but a ruin. A ruined ruin, a ruin sent to oblivion

on purpose. Who cares if I fold up at my desk

a heap of angry sorrow. Not any