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Poem of the Month

Beth Bachmann’s previous poetry book, Temper, received the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Do Not Rise received the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award. Her poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Boston Review, and Southern Review and have been anthologized in The Best New Poets 2005 and 2007. Her honors also include the American Poet Prize and fellowships from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Bread Loaf, and the Sewanee Writer’s Conference. Bachmann teaches creative writing at Vanderbilt University.

February 2015

From Do Not Rise

by Beth Bachmann


muse of arms

To swallow fire, first, listen to the direction of the wind.

If you are not careful, you can always hear the birds.

The trick is stillness. When I say, wait, don’t move, don’t

move. Pleasure is blinding but pain is a different beast.

At what point does the hand stop being the hand?

The crow’s face in the bucket of wet coals is black

where petals do not cloak it. Where’s the line? Fire-

walker, water, like blood, steadies heat. Fire-eater,

breathe in. First, place an ear to the tracks to count

the distance to the piston. The skin of a citrus cannot

conduct current. A broken circuit blocks the light.



Copyright © 2015 by Beth Bachmann. All rights reserved.











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