We’re sitting idle, another day of no skin,
no face up-turned. It’s not that rain streams us

featureless, but there are bowls and there are
bowls, and our faces yearn to hold light. Meanwhile

the bright world, yellow and blue and crooked,
puts on a show of eternal, though we know

better. We’re stuck with ourselves, and whatever
unseen hand holds the stopwatch. The wonder is

that suddenly one of us notices the merciful rounded
stones, another the silent I was here song of slugs,

another the sky invisible and elastic in the sound
of a siren. That self-disgust can get swallowed

by careful woodworking, tiny stitches, tickle and shine.
In the brush, in the mud, on the strut—so many

singers! We’re all just squatters, but our gifts—
oh ears throat eyes fingers—extravagant.

Ellen Doré Watson

Ellen Doré Watson’s fifth collection, pray me stay eager, comes out from Alice James Books in 2018. Her work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Tin House, Orion, and The New Yorker. Among her honors are a Rona Jaffe Writers Award, fellowships to the MacDowell Colony and to Yaddo, and a NEA Translation Fellowship. She has translated a dozen books from the Brazilian Portuguese, including the work of poet Adélia Prado. Watson serves as poetry editor of The Massachusetts Review, director of the Poetry Center at Smith College, and teaches in the Drew University Low-Residency MFA program in poetry and translation.

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