{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Marcia Karp

has most recently had poems and translations in The Warwick Review, TLS, Oxford Magazine, and The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation (Norton, 2010).

If by Song, a collection of her poems and translations, is forthcoming (Un-Gyve Press, 2012).

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I knew a drummer when I was a girl
and he was a man, who told me his rattattattat.
They’d never had anything like me, he said,
- ensnared not from love, but from art - among their beaten men.

Though we kissed after hotdogs and tasted of mustard,
his rolls and his flams and his tattattattoos
never sounded between us - the girl from one side,
the man from the other, of town.

He’s still a man, if still he is.
I’m now a woman in grief for her art.
My tittle, my jot, have been scraped from my song.
They are mine and are perfect.
Stolen, my least sheep, my grace-notes, my ruffles.

I’ve always remembered that man from our vinegar kiss,
and his report - not the first, but the first I’d heard,
as he brushed by in kindness my life - of unmuffled madness from art,
that, if I dare master the rattamacue, might be mine.


[Originally published in Joining Music with Reason: 34 Poets, British and American, Oxford 2004–2009, chosen by Christopher Ricks, Waywiser, 2010.]