National Poetry Month Day 19: Katie Farris





Emiloma: A Riddle & An Answer


Will you be
my death, breast?
I had asked you
in jest and in response
you hardened—a test
of my resolve? Malignant
magnificent palimpsest.


Will you be
my death, Emily?
Today I placed
your collected poems
over my breast, my heart
knocking fast
on your front cover.


Will you be
my death, chemo?
The shell of my self
in the sphere of time
plucking, plucking
the wool of my hair
from its branches.


Will you be
my death, Emily?
And keep the sky
from reaching inside—
you, the voice; me, the faithful echo?
Will you be
my death, echo?


Do you know—no
in which meadow—mow
the gingko grows—goes
which is fallow, which furrowed—foes
what is winnowed, what is—woe.


Photograph of Katie Farris courtesy of Katie Farris.

Katie Farris’s work appears in American Poetry Review, Granta, The Nation, and Poetry, and has been commissioned by MoMA. Her first book of poems, Standing in the Forest of Being Alive, is forthcoming from Alice James Books (US) and Liverpool University Press (UK) in 2023. She is also the author of the chapbook A Net to Catch My Body in its Weaving, which won the 2020 Chad Walsh Poetry Award from Beloit Poetry Journal, and boysgirls, a hybrid-form book, as well as co-translator of many books of poetry. Her work has been published in Best New Poets, and she has won several awards, including a Pushcart Prize. She teaches at Princeton University. More from this author →