Poem of the Week | October 16, 2017

This week, we are excited to offer a new poem by Kristin Robertson. Robertson is the author of Surgical Wing (Alice James Books, 2017). Her poetry appears recently in The Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, and Prairie Schooner, among other journals. She is the winner of the inaugural Laux/Millar Raleigh Review Poetry Prize.

Love Letter to Airbag


Heavy geode a Smithsonian docent
somehow offers me, and I cradle it
while around me classmates
radiate, use words like brilliantest
and sparklinger


Or the heirloom tomato at the market,
against my hand the heat, layered
with Augusts, and the person for whom
I will fall walks up, takes my wrist,
and says I grew that—


Or the sea turtle I save more than once,
drop off the boat slip with a swim come on
swim and a kiss to the carapace, and my fingers,
out from under its flippers,
briny and unladen—


To you, this, this, this is my head.


Author’s Note:

I wrote this poem one afternoon after driving by a multi-car pileup on the interstate – all the deployed and deflated airbags draped like sailcloth over the massive shipwreck. This poem attempts to address one of the many strange intimacies that exist between human beings and machines. It’s the first in what has become a series of love letters. This one I composed mostly while clutching my own head with both hands.