Kate Partridge

Fall Line

We go down
     to the river with sandwiches.
Simplicity economizes
     time. On the rocks,
a man sits
     with a woman. Dousing its face
in the water, a snake long enough
     to arch over
his shoulder,
     both ends extending to the ground.
It is difficult to see how such
     differences can
be resolved
     rationally. We move away
with others, lifting bottles and sacks,
     one arm around
a child as,
     in one last source of vagueness
and relativity, it becomes less
     clear where beneath
the surface
     the snake‚Äôs head is located. No
rock shadow across flank. Lovers of
     one quality
frequently con-
     demn the other. If an object
falls on one side of the line, it is
    simple. Unlike
the jointed skull
     submerged, watery. Speaking
communicates a commitment to
     the utterance.
(includes language collaged from the New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics)


Artwork on this page:
Detail of Farewell
20 x 26" oil on canvas, 2008
Irene Hardwicke Olivieri

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