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Two poems

"Taste and See" and "Still Your Hand"

Egrets in flight
Egrets in flight

Taste and See

  • Seven very tall French egrets
  • mill about in a field.
  • As soon as anyone appears
  • they take off, headed
  • as Away as possible.
  • Their bright gleam in the sky
  • quickly out of sight—
  • Taste and see
  • Why should it seem holy,
  • the white glow of their wings?
  • Conjuring up the language
  • of my youth in the church:
  • Taste and see
  • Walk in love
  • Go in peace to love and serve
  • These emissaries, why do I think
  • they love me even as they flee?
  • Flight is proof
  • of love?
  • That’s some American female
  • masochism coming at you
  • right there.
  • Or maybe not, maybe just
  • my own lifted heart
  • unanswered—it’s a danger,
  • not a balm.

Still Your Hand

  • I keep everything at bay
  • don’t kill yourself
  • Being busy means falling
  • into each task only so far
  • Farther sometimes—
  • I’m happy when lost
  • in love or work—still I avoid
  • such things Why avoid
  • happiness Nestle with me
  • in the safest place (our bed)
  • Spin down, spin down,
  • bourbon or tv
  • I veer into my life and it’s here
  • where we fail
  • at lots of daily things
  • Will timid-me
  • decline change
  • even freedom      or maybe
  • I mistake
  • abiding love
  • for mere timidity
  • an error that could ruin us
  • I have a lovely shrink
  • but the mind is SO SLOW
  • You?

Sally Ball is the author of two collections of poems, Wreck Me and Annus Mirabilis. Her third, Hold Sway, is forthcoming in 2019. An associate professor of English at Arizona State University, Ball is also an associate director of Four Way Books, the independent press based in New York City. Her long poem “HOLD” is being made into a limited-edition large-format artist’s book by the Czech printmaker Jan Vičar, forthcoming in 2018.

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Egrets in flight
Egrets in flight

Taste and See

  • Seven very tall French egrets
  • mill about in a field.
  • As soon as anyone appears
  • they take off, headed
  • as Away as possible.
  • Their bright gleam in the sky
  • quickly out of sight—
  • Taste and see
  • Why should it seem holy,
  • the white glow of their wings?
  • Conjuring up the language
  • of my youth in the church:
  • Taste and see
  • Walk in love
  • Go in peace to love and serve
  • These emissaries, why do I think
  • they love me even as they flee?
  • Flight is proof
  • of love?
  • That’s some American female
  • masochism coming at you
  • right there.
  • Or maybe not, maybe just
  • my own lifted heart
  • unanswered—it’s a danger,
  • not a balm.

Still Your Hand

  • I keep everything at bay
  • don’t kill yourself
  • Being busy means falling
  • into each task only so far
  • Farther sometimes—
  • I’m happy when lost
  • in love or work—still I avoid
  • such things Why avoid
  • happiness Nestle with me
  • in the safest place (our bed)
  • Spin down, spin down,
  • bourbon or tv
  • I veer into my life and it’s here
  • where we fail
  • at lots of daily things
  • Will timid-me
  • decline change
  • even freedom      or maybe
  • I mistake
  • abiding love
  • for mere timidity
  • an error that could ruin us
  • I have a lovely shrink
  • but the mind is SO SLOW
  • You?

Sally Ball is the author of two collections of poems, Wreck Me and Annus Mirabilis. Her third, Hold Sway, is forthcoming in 2019. An associate professor of English at Arizona State University, Ball is also an associate director of Four Way Books, the independent press based in New York City. Her long poem “HOLD” is being made into a limited-edition large-format artist’s book by the Czech printmaker Jan Vičar, forthcoming in 2018.

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