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.

Posted in ,

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  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.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.