About the Poems
by Mia Nussbaum
“Now It Begins”: When I watched the elephants one night, they seemed to walk out of and back into time itself. Marvin Gaye sang in my ear: “I been sanctified.” It was good to imagine an end where the icebergs and animals win.
“[The Chapter of the Ant]”: This via negativa poem is one in a series of psalms. Rafael is from Uruguay. The points and cubes business is indebted to Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott.
“Northering”: I’d been thinking about the architects who’ve converted abandoned grain silos into affordable housing in Alabama, though that is nowhere in this poem. I was blue and trying to part with some blue months.
“Saw This & Marked It”: I was at a mall in Denver when it struck me that the people around me might be ATM Machines. Turns out, they were people.
“This Picture Was Born When A. Wyeth Climbed Out on the Weathered Roof of Henry Teel’s House”: My father wrote the sentence that became the poem’s title and noted “the smoothness of a plank box and the irregularity of hay” in the margin of an old book of Wyeth’s plates.