Fall 2005 • Vol. XXVII No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 2005 |

Either / Or

1. Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates: a tattered copy for sale on the street to remind me of the conundrum of or: Was it a matter of choosing Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates or were these two possible titles? Or both? Maybe I was stoned for the first time when I mused over this semantic trifle, or maybe I wasn't. For aren't our days packed with such parsings—light or ponderous —and we can't always tell the difference: Did she mean to snub me or was she similarly preoccupied? 2. Conjunction of alternatives, Middle English or, earlier other, auther, perhaps either. Early High German er as in earlier or before. Of preference as in sooner rather than later. As if one could choose. As if life hadn't already chosen to set me at a standstill before 3. honeyed light-circle the bare tree's branches in shadow against the stone wall shimmer-lit or photographed—unfixed—that fixed

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Sharon Dolin's fifth book, Whirlwind, is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2012. Her fourth book, Burn and Dodge (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008), won the 2007 AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. "The Book of Lost Aphorisms" appeared in Hotel Amerika and an essay on aphorisms is forthcoming in The American Poet. Recent winner of a Pushcart Prize (2011), she is Writer-in-Residence at Eugene Lang College, The New School.

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