Poem of the Week | June 19, 2012

This week we’re featuring a new poem by Beth Bachmann. Bachmann is the author of Temper (Pitt Poetry Series, 2009), winner of the AWP Donald Hall Poetry Prize and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Her new manuscript, Flaw, won the 2011 Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award for a book in progress. She teaches at Vanderbilt University.

Author’s Note:

If I could have dinner with anyone living or dead I would choose Lord Baden-Powell, soldier, writer, artist and founder of the Boy Scouts. We would kill what we would eat, draw it, prep it, eat it and then sleep under the stars. “alternative: uses for ascot” is a love poem about rescue. Like many things, a scout’s ascot is both aesthetic and functional. It is used to signal, drag, bandage, mask, and carry.

(alternative: uses for ascot)


Tie my wrists above the overturned canoe, for I am prone
to drowning
and though I dress too lightly for the weather,


the hole in my pocket will not permit release.


Cradle wet rocks to ring the fire: startle me with gunshot.
No red-feathered bird can pressure this artery.