A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Karen McPherson

is an Oregon poet. She has published poems in a number of journals, including Poetry Motel, Fireweed and Descant, and in the 2006 Lane Literary Guild chapbook Dona Nobis Pacem.

She is also a professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Oregon and author of Incriminations: Guilty WomenTelling Stories (1994) and Archaeologies of an Uncertain Future: Recent Generations of Canadian Women Writing (2006).

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Can this be anything but a conclusion? Over
before it even hits the sweeping plains
of thought? Tidily wrapped in the air-
tight geometry of endpapers? Bellowing
certainty, forestalling debate, not even bothering
to wait around to exchange the usual
pleasantries? Aren’t we improper even to assail it
with questions? Shouldn’t we admit we
are already outstripped? Isn’t it
impudent even to be thinking:

What if it were instead some hesitant scout
of an idea nosing into a thicket of possibilities?
or else the too enthusiastic tripper of
the starting gate, hopper of mental fences
leaving all behind—not gone
just gone ahead? What if it were that sparrow
on the slightest of forsythia twigs ghosting
her own presence, her flight already imagined?