Rosanna Warren

March 14, 2013 Warren Rosanna

~Rosanna Warren


Survivors of a volcanic explosion, cross-

hatched, charred, incised—Loul’s ceramic

amphorae line the allée, protecting us

(from what? They’re called “Gardiennes”). Quick-


silver-smeared, burnt sienna, cerulean, ash,

his jars loom. One, a gigantic fig-wasp, waits

to be impregnated: her breasts swell in a rash.

Out of the fire we tumbled: Earth creates,


cremates, we’re mud, burnt mud and scarred

each with a signature: like those children there,

wheeled through the vernissage, each body paired

with a nurse to manoeuver the small wheel chair


over the garden ruts, among the guests,

canapés, champagne in plastic cups, the chat.

Their thin arms jerk, heads tilt over caved-in chests—

and isn’t this just how each of us will sit


in our own way and time? And the Earth was

without form, and the potter pressed the heel

of his hand in clay, then gathered to pinch and fuse

fjords, mesas, moraines, and the squiggles we call


human. And were we good? Or have we ever

been? Two arms, two legs, a swollen noggin,

and the chunked, twitching gristle of heart to stir

us to smash and caress, to roam off, to remain.

Rosanna Warren’s recent books are Max Jacob: A Life in Art and Letters, a biography, and So Forth, a book of poems, both from W. W. Norton in 2020. She retired from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago in 2023.