Two Poems

Rae Armantrout

Keepers

1.
On ‘Buried Alive’,
possessions can’t be lost

or found.
They can’t be exchanged.

They’re negotiated

as one negotiates
a landfill.

2.
In the militarised evening,
Boeing

touts its service
to ‘our troops’. We’re shown

soldiers pinned down.
One is strapped

to a pallet –
ready for take-off?

3.
In the currency market,
I’m the judge

of a talent show
or beauty pageant

in which the contestants
are moments

of my life. None
is good enough

to keep



Legacy

‘Do words just pop
into your head?’

Some may go
unexploded.

*

‘Have you thought much
about your legacy?’

I’m a legacy
prisoner.

No I’m not.

*

‘What do you call precious?’

The precious doesn’t
get around much

so it stays small.

Or it orbits
the same small
pronoun,

a kid
on a carousel.

‘Look at me!’

It fiddles
with itself.

But I’ve got bigger things
to pick up

and put down.