Time Lapse with Tess Gallagher

a symmetry of doubt with us
at the center
– Tess Gallagher, “Time Lapse with Tulips”

By the end of the reading it seems natural, this twinning
of incandescent phrase & florescent face.
A female poet must acknowledge the physical
in a way the male poet need not, I suppose,
& Gallagher goes for the aesthetic of surprise, inclining
as if into a strong wind to welcome our applause,
that violent travesty of prayer.

Would she take questions? She would.
And me with my hand over my head, a-twitch
with a question of such naive-sounding sincerity
everyone will laugh, afraid to let our visitor think
we might all be so simple. But she will go ahead
& answer in the same spirit.

There might have been a bouquet in the interim –
roses, carnations, something from
the florist down the street. It all went by so quickly.
It might have been April, the storm drains
suddenly plastered with petals, white, red.

2 Replies to “Time Lapse with Tess Gallagher”

  1. Dave, that’s just terrific.
    I don’t know why, I don’t know Gallagher or her poetry, but your word-sketch is like those Zen brush drawings I like so much.

    And this:
    “…our applause,
    that violent travesty of prayer…”


  2. Thanks, Natalie! Gallagher’s pretty cool, though before I heard her read, I wasn’t quite sure how to take some of her poems. They have a couple of her poems at the Academy of American Poets page. Check your library for Instructions To The Double (source of the poem I quoted above) or the more recent Portable Kisses.

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