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

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
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.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.