Sarah Dickenson Snyder, “In and Out of Focus”

Sarah Dickenson Snyder has three poetry collections: The Human Contract, Notes from a Nomad (nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards 2018), and With a Polaroid Camera, forthcoming in 2019. Recently, poems have appeared in Artemis, The Sewanee Review, and RHINO.

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In and Out of Focus

At a lecture on Eavan Boland’s poetry,
I sat in the second row
behind a woman
whose shirt was inside out.

I couldn’t stop tracing
the pale blue splayed seams with my eyes,
the ‘medium’ tag large on her neck—
how rushed or distracted
she must have been and why.

I think the speaker spoke of similes,
and metaphors—their need to be organic.

When we were teenagers, my sister
walked into the kitchen one evening late after a date,
her shirt inside out—I stood behind my mother,
trying to alert my sister, feeling like a mime
in a comedy sketch, pulling an invisible shirt
over my head.

What is the best place—
imagining the papery flushed skin
of a pomegranate or seeing what is in front of you
that stirs the sudden movement of time.





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