Elaine Sexton

A Singleton & Self Portrait: Between the Car and the Sea
September 22, 2020 Sexton Elaine

A Singleton
They climb to their lookout, each day, different,
the same. My friend, walking his dog
in the cool green Fells across the road,
says he always comes across at least one.
Homer will dive into Boston’s drinking water
reservoir to fetch a stick, one of a kind, one of many dogs
fetching sticks in the cold deep, held by granite and gravel,
close to the single longest day of the year. I climb out
from one of my selves, looking for another way
to go at the day. Solo. We are born this way.
How keen it must be to be twinned from the start,
always in tandem with another flesh-and-blood other,
unlike the rest of us watching the wrist of our thinking snap,
dreams idly flung over a pool without tide.


Self Portrait: Between the Car and the Sea
I think I’ll stay blonde
a while longer. Downshifting
for the view, today, my car’s
engine strains
in first gear the way my body,
climbing the last few steps on foot
does. You’d hear it, too,
if the heart
had a harsher voice. Silently
pulling for herself,
the will wants the body to
give her what she wants.
How long will these parts last?
I put off minding the flags
lifting their faces. I watch sea lice flit
from shell to sand to beach
eased by
transition lenses.

Elaine Sexton’s most recent collection of poetry is Prospect/Refuge (Sheep Meadow Press). Her poems, reviews, and essays have appeared widely in journals including American Poetry Review, Art in America, Five Points, Oprah Magazine, Pleiades, Poetry, and  Poetry Daily. She teaches poetry at the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute, and has been guest faculty at numerous colleges and writing and art programs in the U.S. and abroad, including New York University, Poets House, and Arts Workshop International. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and serves as the visual arts editor for Tupelo Quarterly.