Monday Poem: “Memory of a poem by August Kleinzahler” by Anna Livesy

The Monday Poem

I had to go looking for this week’s poem, as I’d used up the store of those that I knew and loved. There’s something to be said for treading unfamiliar literary paths: I found this absolute gem to share.

Memory of a poem by August Kleinzahler, by Anna Livesy

There were two people (one in a blue dress).
They stood outside the ring the crowd made
around some spectacle
and spoke to each other.
It is not in the poem, but I think she folded her hands
in the skirt of her blue dress,
running the fabric between her fingers.
l think he touched her wrist, bare and white
in the light reflected from the spectacle.
They were behind the backs of several thousand people,
none of whom noticed them. Her wrist
looked very fine as it rose from the blue material.
Seeing the wrist, he was sorry for what he had said.
He said something else to her instead and she replied, quietly.
They made a small crowd of their own.

(courtesy of Best New Zealand Poems 2005)

Apparently, the poem sprang from an encounter with Kleinzahler’s book, The Strange Hours Travelers Keep. What I love about it is the imagery; I can see quite vividly the pale skin of the woman against the blue of her dress, feel the press of the crowd, the un-lonely loneliness of the two in their private world. What a find! I’m glad I stumbled across it.

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