Ellen Bass's poetry books include The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press), named a Notable Book of 2007 by the San Francisco Chronicle and Mules of Love (BOA, 2002), which won the Lambda Literary Award. Her poems have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, The Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review and many other journals. Her non-fiction books include The Courage to Heal and Free Your Mind. She teaches in the MFA program at Pacific University and at conferences and retreats nationally and internationally. www.ellenbass.com
Late October Afternoon
Things go on. Somewhere
in the city a man stirs a root soup,
mashing garlic with the flat of his knife,
chopping the clove into bits.
Somewhere a woman smocks
the bodice of a blue dress.
She takes a drag of her Newport Light,
looks out the window over the rooftops.
Outside your doorway, a patch
of weedy grass springs up
from the crust of crumpled earth.
And beyond that, the coast,
tongued by the sea, rock pulled down
to the heaving water—
Sun saturates the sky, so you can't see
where you are--flung out
on the edge of a minor arm, a spur
of one spiraling galaxy—
blinded by the light.