When the old she-salmon swam to my rockwhere I had sat to watch her molderingtransform into a fruiting body, clockof flesh stretched above pale pebbles, tickingtail where her roe lay like scattered appleblossoms the rain has adhered to the roadand her great heaving sides stained with the dullflowering shapes of fungus, I could not knowwhat secret pain it took for her to noseagainst the current there, the large head scarred,flanks those of a barnacled ship: she rosefrom shallow water, a calcified shardbearing time’s white etchings, and one dark eye—lidless—that willed I mark her drifting by.
by Keetje Kuipers
© BOA Editions, 2010.
'River Sonnet' is taken from Beautiful in the Mouth, and reprinted by permission of BOA Editions.
Notes courtesy of BOA Editions:
Keetje Kuipers is a native of the Northwestern
United States. She earned her B.A. at Swarthmore College and her M.F.A.
at the University of Oregon. She is currently a Stegner Fellow at
Stanford University. In 2007 Keetje was the Margery Davis Boyden
Wilderness Writing Resident. She used the residency to complete work on
her book Beautiful in the Mouth, from which 'River Sonnet' comes. This latest collection was awarded the 2009 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize.
Written over the course of five years and a geographic journey spanning Paris to New York to Oregon, Kuipers’ Beautiful in the Mouth
examines contemporary female loss in terms of literal and figurative
geography: the empty bedroom of a dead child, a clear-cut hillside
outside of a logging town. From her own unique perspective, Kuipers
continues in the spirit of poets like Elizabeth Bishop to examine how
loss forces itself upon unwilling landscapes and how those landscapes
must alter to receive that loss.
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