Spring 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 2 Poetry |

1961

I started to starve in September's first weeks, and by the time I began my descent to earth, I was so small I caused my mother scarcely any physical pain, my body slipping out of hers the way a coin vanishes through a pocket's seam and becomes invisible, except I was made visible, and lay in the clear small cage around which doctors hovered, trying to determine whether I was damaged, or how, and my mother vowed never to reveal to me this first way she'd failed me, and all that fall, the heavy new volumes of Dickinson's Complete Poems were piled onto bookstore shelves in every city in America, and lay there silently, a cushion of empty space surrounding each poem, until a reader lifted one and, holding open the book in some cramped public corner, read for the first time "My life closed twice," "My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun—"

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By Ann Keniston

I started to starve in September's first weeks, and by the time I began my descent to earth, I was so small I caused my mother scarcely any physical pain, […]

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