Mary Austin Speaker Poems




The Leftovers


To be left over is to be transformed.
When next approached, the subjectivity
will have shifted, the tastebuds

and ocular mechanisms less prone
to the pleasures of the not-yet-leftover
the first time it was experienced.

A shiver is the body receding
and not having enough room
to get away from itself.

As though we had invisibility cloaks
we could activate at will.
Switch off our presence in any situation.

When its wire is tripped, the foghorn blares.
The foghorn anchored to its beam with metal bolts.
It will never go inside a house, even though

its steam puffs up in such domestic shapes.
It offers heads of presidents, horses,
machine guns, buicks. The foghorn knows

the world we live in is alarming,
but it feels no kinship with the siren.
The foghorn's vitality depends on

the integrity of the vessel
on which it perches
like a parrot, aware

that the subjectivity it guards
may indeed be dangerous,
but it is a sublime danger.

The low, desolate,
melancholic noise
of the foghorn

is the sound of a subjectivity
calling out in the quiet whiteness,
look out, I'm about to arrive on your shores.





Mary Austin Speaker is co-founder of Triptych Readings and recent curator of the Reading Between A & B poetry series in New York City, which pairs emerging and established writers. She has been Poetry Editor of Indiana Review at Indiana University, where she was also an Associate Instructor of Creative Writing. Her work has received recognition from Seattle Review, Diner, Lumina, Black Warrior Review, Phoebe, and the Academy of American Poets, and her new work is forthcoming in Sentence, Five Fingers Review and Iowa Review. She has received fellowships from Indiana University and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and she currently works as a book designer and illustrator. She lives in Brooklyn.


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