When the Rules Change

Once, I heard the clang of prison gates.
There to give a workshop, I was required to walk through the metal detector.
The guard asked me to remove my earrings. Not necessary, I said. I don’t at the airport.
He gave me a withering look. As I walked through, my earrings screamed.

When the rules change it’s as if a strong wind were blowing and all the trees were swaying.
Then the trees stopped swaying but the wind still blew.

Or like that cartoon enacting the phrase, the rug was pulled out from under her.





Ellen Goldsmith reads, writes, and teaches poetry. Left Foot, Right Foot, her most recent book, is an illness and recovery story in twenty-eight poems. Her first book, No Pine Tree in This Forest Is Perfect won the 1997 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition and was described as “an incandescent collection.” Her poems have been published in numerous journals and anthologies. Professor Emeritus of the City University of New York, she lives in Cushing, Maine.

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