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Saturday, July 24, 2021

'Poetry Is Intimate'

 “I feel like prose comes much more from outside me than poetry does. Poetry is intimate and more generated in my own theater, shall we say. But in prose I have to be responsive to that story that’s coming to me and there has to be some part of me that goes out to meet it.” – Tess Gallagher


Born in July 1943 to a logging family in Port Angeles, WA, Gallagher has published numerous collections of poetry, including Instructions for a Double, which won the Elliston Book Award.   Her Moon Crossing Bridge, a series of 60 poems on the theme of loss and grieving, prompted the American Book Review to call it “a rare document of loss, faith, and returns—return to the site of loving and to the gradual last breath, return to life's immediate summonings.”


For Saturday’s Poem here is Gallagher’s,

Now that I am Never Alone

In the bath I look up and see the brown moth

pressed like a pair of unpredictable lips

against the white wall. I heat up

the water, running as much hot in as I can stand.

These handfuls over my shoulder—how once

he pulled my head against his thigh and dipped

a rivulet down my neck of coldest water from the spring

we were drinking from. Beautiful mischief

that stills a moment so I can never look

back. Only now, brightest now, and the water

never hot enough to drive that shiver out.


But I remember solitude—no other

presence and each thing what it was. Not this raw

fluttering I make of you as you have made of me

your watch-fire, your killing light.




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