Martha Zweig

All the Precedents, in Order



I’ve forgotten my souvenirs.

There was something from somewhere somewhere.

Or, if a thing I think I remember I

make up, even the voice meant

to summon that other voice it spoke in.


I practice an alphabetical life.

Gingerly, pursed breath, tiptoes, awe. Please

don’t feed or annoy the animals. Twenty-

questioning one after another root

vegetable as to its trace minerals.


Dear departed, stash me

in a fanny pack and simper us through Customs.

Slip me underneath my true love’s door

to loop around invisibly in my eloquent

lemon ink cursives.


And then what happens?

Wait, wait—I almost know—a whole

room turns its faces to mine in anticipation.

I get called on in class. My hand

wasn’t up. I memorize. I recite.

Martha Zweig’s collections include Monkey Lightning (Tupelo Press, 2010), What Kind (Wesleyan University Press, 2003), Vinegar Bone (Wesleyan University Press, 1999), and Powers (l976), a chapbook from the Vermont Arts Council. She has received Hopwood and Whiting awards. Her poems are widely published; three were featured in Poetry. Her MFA is from Warren Wilson College.



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