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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
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
poem
I stopped by to see you but you were not home

marshland

the pure vision

my ancient lives all risen up and rising



shudder in my bed to come up against

a living religion; they get offended so easily;

blow up your hundred-foot Buddha

no problem. Entire mountainside.



Presumably it's an improvement

on