Published on Academy of American Poets (

A blurry photograph

The tree azalea overwhelms the evening with its scent,
defining everything and the endless fields.

Walking away, suddenly, it slices off and is gone.

The visible object blurs open in front of you,
the outline of a branch folds back into itself, then clarifies—just as you turn away—

and the glass hardens into glass

as you go about taking care of things abstractedly
one thing shelved after another, as if they were already in the past,

needing nothing from you until, smashing itself on the tile floor,
the present cracks open the aftermath of itself.


Copyright © 2013 by Martha Ronk. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on July 9, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

"The poem is part of a series of poems on photography and seeing; here I try to address several experiences that manifest as highly defined and also as blurry or abstract: scents, visible images, the present moment. I had dropped a glass on the kitchen floor; the azalea came from Vermont last August; a friend made a photogram of a blurry glass jar. I always wonder how these things gather themselves together and insist."
—Martha Ronk


Martha Ronk

Born in 1940, Martha Ronk is the author of several collections of poetry, including Vertigo (Coffee House Press, 2007), which was selected by C. D. Wright as a part of the National Poetry Series.

Date Published: 2013-07-09

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