Quick, before you die,

the exact shade
of this hotel carpet.

What is the meaning
of the irregular, yellow

spheres, some

gathered in patches
on this bedspread?

If you love me,

the objects
I have caused

to represent me
in my absence.


Over and over

of houses spill

down that hillside.

might be possible
to count occurrences.

From Money Shot, published by Wesleyan University Press. Copyright © 2011 by Rae Armantrout. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

From Homage to Clio by W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1960 W. H. Auden, renewed by the Estate of W. H. Auden. Used by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Consider a lady gone reckless in love,
     In novels and plays:
You watch her proceed in a drapery of
     A roseate haze.
Acclaimed as a riot, a wow, and a scream,
She flies with her beau to les Alpes Maritimes,
And moves in a mist of a mutual dream
     The rest of her days.

In life, if you’ll listen to one who has been
     Observant of such,
A lady in love is more frequently in
     Decidedly Dutch.
The thorn, so to say, is revealed by the rose.
The best that she gets is a sock in the nose.
These authors and playwrights, I’m forced to suppose,
     Don’t get around much.

From Enough Rope (Boni & Liveright, 1926) by Dorothy Parker. This poem is in the public domain.