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Red Doc>

Red Doc>

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Written by Anne CarsonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Anne Carson

  • Format: Hardcover, 192 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • On Sale: March 5, 2013
  • Price: $24.95
  • ISBN: 978-0-307-96058-0 (0-307-96058-7)
Also available as a trade paperback.
EXCERPT

TIME PASSES TIME
does not pass. Time all
but passes. Time usually
passes. Time passing and
gazing. Time has no gaze.
Time as perseverance.
Time as hunger. Time in
a natural way. Time when
you were six the day a
mountain. Mountain time.
Time I don’t remember.
Time for a dog in an alley
caught in the beam of your
flashlight. Time not a
video. Time as paper
folded to look like a
mountain. Time smeared
under the eyes of the
miners as they rattle down
into the mine. Time if you
are bankrupt. Time if you
are Prometheus. Time if
you are all the little tubes
on the roots of a gorse
plant sucking greenish
black moistures up into
new scribbled continents.
Time it takes for the postal
clerk to apply her lipstick
at the back of the post
office before the
supervisor returns. Time
it takes for a cow to tip
over. Time in jail. Time
as overcoats in a closet.
Time for a herd of turkeys
skidding and surprised on
ice. All the time that has
soaked into the walls here.
Time between the little
clicks. Time compared to
the wild fantastic silence
of the stars. Time for the
man at the bus stop
standing on one leg to tie
his shoe. Time taking
Night by the hand and
trotting off down the road.
Time passes oh boy. Time
got the jump on me yes it
did.
 
--
 
SHUFFLING RECIPES
COUPONS horoscopes
in a kitchen drawer he turns
up an old B&W
photograph of her posed in
dashing swim costume on
some long ago back porch.
One leg forward like a
Greek kouros a cigarette
in the other hand she
glows as a drop of water
glows in sun. She looks
sexually astute in a way
that terrifies him he puts
this aside and all at once
the grainy photograph the
early marvel of her life
flung up at him a thing
hardly believable! knocks
him to his knees. He grips
his arms and weeps. Pain
catches the whole insides
of him and wrings it.
Oddly now remembering
his grandmother’s wringer
washer silvergreen and
upright on a platform of
wet boards in her back
kitchen beside the
washing tubs. How
carefully he’d been taught
to feed a piece of dripping
cloth between the two big
lips of the rollers while
she cranked the handle
and the cloth grabbed
fforward to emerge on the
other side as a weird
compressed pane of itself.
He hadn’t known his
grandmother long or well.
She smelled of Noxzema.
Didn’t like doctors.
Believed in herbs and the
Bible. When the apostles
walked down the street
she said their shadows
would heal people. His
mother once told him a
story about her dying.
They never liked each
other hadn’t visited for
years but someone
arranged a phone call. So
there they were mother
and daughter on the
telephone separate cities
separate nights both
suffering from asthma and
so moved they couldn’t
speak. I heard her
breathing I knew what it
was his mother said. He
looks up. He’d almost
forgot about the rain.
Unloading on the roof and
squandering down the
gutters. Rain continuous
since the funeral a
wrecking rattling
bewildering Lethe-
knuckling mob of rain. A
rain with no instructions.
 
--
 
WIFE OF BRAIN
 
Mothers in summer
Mothers in winter
Mothers in autumn
Mothers in spring
 
Mothers at altitude
Mothers in solitude
Mothers as platitude
Mothers in spring
 
Mothers banking their shots
Mothers grackling their throats
Mothers dumped from their boats
In spring
 
Mothers as ice
Or when they are nice
No one more nice
In spring
 
Mothers ashamed and Ablaze and clear
At the end
As they are
As they almost all are, and then
Mothers don’t come around
Again In spring

Excerpted from Red Doc> by Anne Carson Copyright © 2013 by Anne Carson. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.