A Countdown in Poems to the Irish Arts Center PoetryFest

Poem #13: Signs, by Gjertrud Schnackenberg

November 5, 2015  By Literary Hub

Literary Hub has counted down the days until the seventh-annual Irish Arts Center PoetryFest begins by publishing a poem, as selected by festival co-curator Belinda McKeon. The festival begins tomorrow at the Irish Arts Center.


Signs, by Gjertrud Schnackenberg


Threading the palm, a web of little lines

Spells out the lost money, the heart, the head,

The wagging tongues, the sudden deaths, in signs

We would smooth out, like imprints on a bed,


In signs that can’t be helped, geese heading south,

In signs read anxiously, like breath that clouds

A mirror held to a barely open mouth,

Like telegrams, the gathering of crowds –


The plane’s X in the sky, spelling disaster;

Before the whistle and hit, a tracer flare;

Before rubble, a hairline crack in plaster

And a housefly’s panicked scribbling on the air.


Literary Hub is a proud sponsor of Irish Arts Center PoetryFest.

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