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About this Poem 

"This is one of a group or series of 'Experiments in Voice and Character'; it is either the first or the last, I haven't decided, but so far it is the only one that announces its thematic material in its title. The divinatory practice it concerns itself with is the reading of cards; it concerns itself with longing for an answer when we cannot have an answer, the intense longing that provokes a certainty that there is a way of knowing if only we had it. And then we do."
—Rebecca Wolff

Experiment in Divination: Voice and Character

Rebecca Wolff

There is a curiosity that knows
I know

deathless ceiling of unknowing
I know

Querent,

Who I ask
is changing

all the time

changing
now changed.

How else is one to know

How is one to know how to proceed

the course of action

a non-reflective surface

a playing card on a wooden picnic table
a knot of knowing on a node of playing

How is one to know

How else is one to know how to proceed

How is one to make the motion against


And there’s forever
and that’s a mighty long time.

Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Wolff. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on August 7, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Wolff. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on August 7, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Rebecca Wolff

Rebecca Wolff

The founder of the literary journal Fence, Rebecca Wolff's collection Manderley was selected for the 2000 National Poetry Series

by this poet

poem
Primarily

I am a mother.
When he was sick;

I engaged his imagination
with a book—

the perfect—I seized it; his
weakened defenses.

This is the way I have
filled his mind

egg and milk and butter and bread
all together—

that's a lot for a small child to take in.
Like Maisie

in the novel is a sieve.
What we
poem
Half a day is dead already--
a lady with a baby in the shady graveyard
promenade not quite the idea
but the first idea to be impressed
so firmly--Grace to be born

in the
bisected quadrangle
stones propped insensible
but all in relation
to the babe.

Babe what suckles
babe what grows comfortable with thieves in
poem
He died before we could honor
him correctly. Candied

impulse through the brain.
Your will subverted

that's a tree, a treatment,
a genealogy. Oddly enough if I need something

someone is sure to give it to me.
To supply me with it. Oddly enough,

it's not about cutting slack
but about positive reinforcement