Two Poems

Rae Armantrout

The way orchid
splits the difference

with hot pink,
say,

in the hanging
plastic crystal –

how an increased level
of saturation

can come across
as reticence

or even
as retraction.

There, where it changes
tack –

the as in the
‘come across as’ –

put your tongue on that.

Sign in car window:

It’s
not about
us, it’s
about Him.

Hot potato.

Of course, it’s terrible
when civilians

burn,
when they strangle.

Everyone
will say the same thing.