Those of us who survive are waiting for normal life, believing in the idea,
though everybody knows from months of TV that the wait has extended
impossibly, like a line in space or a rope stretched beyond all capacity. We
see signs. Who doesn’t want some small thing to interpret? A dumb movie
plastered on a fresh billboard, the diesel stink of a packed bus. Everything
seems to announce itself. We’re eating at intervals now, mimicking what we
know we were used to, but there’s no escaping nostalgia for old irritations,
crowds and short tempers, anything to get a rise out of somebody. No one
is willing to be rude. We assure ourselves that things will change, we will
change. For a time we can serve as our own confessors. But even now
people are on street corners, hugging themselves and speaking to no one
or simply the air. Just last week the monarchs fluttered in from Mexico and
left as quickly. In a northerly direction.
About Elisabeth Frost
A poet and critic, Elisabeth Frost is the author of a collection of poetry, All of Us (White Pine, 2011); a chapbook, Rumor (Mermaid Tenement Press, 2009); and a critical study, The Feminist Avant-Garde in American Poetry (Iowa, 2003). She is also co-editor of Innovative Women Poets: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and Interviews (Iowa, 2006). In addition to a Fulbright Fellowship as a visiting professor at the University of Wroclaw, Poland, Frost has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation-Bellagio Center, the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, The MacDowell Colony, the Ledig-Rowohlt Foundation, and Ucross, among others. Her collaborations with the artist Dianne Kornberg have been shown at the Chicago Cultural Center and other venues across the country. She is an associate professor of English and Women’s Studies at Fordham University, where she founded and continues to edit the Poets Out Loud poetry series from Fordham University Press.
Poet Alicia Ostriker eloquently describes Frost’s latest poetry collection, All of Us: “In the white space out beyond Elisabeth Frost’s cropped tales, subtle situations, plausible and bizarre fantasias, you may sense the ghosts of Kafka and Borges strolling. But these delicious, low-key, disturbing and always surprising prose poems, with their train of lyric elegance, are a world unto themselves. All of Us is a compulsively readable book.” To learn more about Elisabeth Frost and her writing, visit her website.
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“Monarch” © Elisabeth Frost. This poem originally appeared in Ekleksographia and was reprinted with permission by the author.