Beth Anderson

Posted in Past Guests  |  Tagged

Beth Anderson received her MFA from Brown University and has worked as an editor and lexicographer in Boston and Richmond, VA, where she currently lives. She is the author of The Habitable World,a finalist for the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, and Overboard.


An accusation abetted

When you refuse me stories because of slight variance
I cannot clear a space for lightning. It remains veiled by environment,
prepares to sail through gorges along the river that will be
purposely flooded in twelve years, beside the coal-dusted buildings
that will adorn the innards of a gargantuan lake. What we haul
across our shoulders and breathe out is drifting with the river’s surface,
too, barely missing barges and coating the water with near-words.
It is a form of fjord, a means of holding the tongue against the teeth
in preparation for speech. I have never seen anything
like this balance of shore and current and so will myself to have
visual recall, using this profile as if it were the beginning of a familiar movie
to generate cues, nearly serial, nearly three thousand miles long.

The accusatory posture was accentuated with brows, arching
to voice a desire for the skeletal. Ready to admonish, fingers cocked,
we wrote barter systems in the minutes but did not follow up.
In each lyric was lyricism rendered by a sullen face,
by fatigue without armor, unable to tell the tale
and excuse crying wolf. Tomorrow we may strive for
the correct balance of pause and gesture, settle for learning how
to read the months as signals. Perhaps with a wave toward function
or with spread fingers hovering over the floorboards, or by assigning the unruly
monosyllabic names. And then to learn that your house is not
your house but a group of stances taken together to indicate tenancy.



Societies of American Poetry: Dissenting Practices | February 22, 2003
Social / Lyric