“in signs / We would smooth out like imprints on a bed”

This week I found myself unprepared with a new poem to memorize, so I turned to The Poetry Foundation’s website for a fresh read. I found there a profile of Gjertrud Schnackenberg, and I loved the few poems available on the site to read.  I chose “Signs” to memorize (length, always length, alas). It’s sharp, unexpected, and fast — wheeling from palm-reading to a formation of geese to an airplane crash to a “housefly’s panicked scribbling on the air” without time for the reader to catch a breath.

“Signs” appeared in the June 1974 issue of Poetry.

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