Recurring Dream of the Revolving Door

A. E. Stallings

The revolving door
Paddled its flat hands through space, like a clock,
But widdershins, orbiting the floorAt the pace of an adult’s brisk walk.
You were four, or very small,
And prone to race or balk,And skittered ahead into the tall
Diminishing wedge
Of air and light, leaving me to push a wallBetween us, both on edge,
Before you, a hectic street, and strangers,
Behind you, the vergeOf panic, yours and mine, the dizzy dangers
Of propulsion, staying still, worst, turning back.
The body’s anguish is its angers.This is how Demeter felt, not the lack,
But helplessness at close range, through glass,
As her daughter entered the almanacAnd love turned impasse,
Rearing against momentum until
The inevitable succumbed to mother-massFor a moment. Just so I braced against the mill,
Its endless peopled deluge,
That briefly you could twinkle and spillClock-wise now over the unforgiving, huge
Entrance/exit, a stutter of doubt
In time’s centrifugeThat spins and separates. I fetched you out
Almost before where we had started
In the threshing roundaboutTogether as only those who have been parted.

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A. E. Stallings in an American poet and translator. Her verse translation of Hesiod’s Works and Days is out with Penguin Classics and her new volume of poetry Like is forthcoming in autumn with Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

PN Review

July / August 2018


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Michael Schmidt

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