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Donna Masini

Donna Masini is the author of three poetry collections, most recently 4:30 Movie (W. W. Norton, 2018). She is also the author of Turning to Fiction (W.W. Norton & Company, 2004) and That Kind of Danger (Beacon Press, 1994). She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant. She is a professor of English at Hunter College, and lives in New York City.

By This Poet

2

Anxieties

It’s like ants
and more ants.

West, east
their little axes

hack and tease.
Your sins. Your back taxes.

This is your Etna,					
your senate						
											
of dread, at the axis					
of reason, your taxi					
					
to hell. You see
your past tense—

and next? A nest
of jittery ties.

You’re ill at ease,
at sea,

almost in-
sane.  You’ve eaten

your saints.  
You pray to your sins.

Even sex 
is no exit. 

Ah, you exist.  

A Gate

I have oared and grieved,
grieved and oared,
treading a religion
of fear. A frayed nerve.
A train wreck tied to the train
of an old idea.
Now, Lord, reeling in violent
times, I drag these tidal
griefs to this gate.
I am tired. Deliver
me, whatever you are.
Help me, you who are never
near, hold what I love
and grieve, reveal this green
evening, myself, rain,
drone, evil, greed,
as temporary. Granted
then gone. Let me rail,
revolt, edge out, glove
to the grate. I am done
waiting like some invalid
begging in the nave.
Help me divine
myself, beside me no Virgil
urging me to shift gear,
change lane, sing my dirge
for the rent, torn world, and love
your silence without veering 
into rage.