poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

occasions

About this Poem 

“I’m interested in Descartes’s mind/body split, how our disembodied go-go-go lives are often interrupted by events, coincidences, individualssignsthose moments that remind us, blatantly, of all those sensations we hope to repress. In short, then, I suppose this poem is about that brilliant trickster Denial’s natural triumph over our own self-perception.”
Robin Coste Lewis

Summer

Last summer, two discrete young snakes left their skin on my small porch, two mornings in a row. Being post-modern now, I pretended as if I did not see them, nor understand what I knew to be circling inside me.  Instead, every hour I told my son to stop with his incessant back-chat. I peeled a banana.  And cursed God—His arrogance, His gall—to still expect our devotion after creating love.  And mosquitoes.  I showed my son the papery dead skins so he could know, too, what it feels like when something shows up at your door—twice—telling you what you already know.

Copyright © 2015 by Robin Coste Lewis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 31, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Robin Coste Lewis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 31, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Robin Coste Lewis

Robin Coste Lewis

Robin Coste Lewis is the author of Voyage of the Sable Venus (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), winner of the National Book Award.

by this poet

poem

God goes out for whiskey Friday night,
Staggers back Monday morning
Empty-handed, no explanation.

After three nights of not sleeping,
Three nights of listening for
His footsteps, His mules sliding

Deftly under my bed, I stand
At the stove, giving him my back,

2
poem

"...women don't want the men to go into the
bush because the women will only be raped but
the men will be killed...I have seen a woman
who was caught in the bush by several men.
They tied her legs to two trees while she was
standing. They raped her many times

poem

(An erasure of Grant Allen’s Recalled to Life)

I don’t believe
I thought

or gave names
in any known language.

I spoke
of myself always

in the third person.
What led up to it,

I hadn’t the faintest idea. 
I only knew the Event

itself took place.

2