Declarative pointing precedes language.

We’re joined here
at the bear
in the Santa suit,

the black capped chickadee,

the beaded cottage
with no way in
or out.


You press
a stuffed frog
to a stuffed pig
and look up.

“Are they kissing?”
“Are they fighting?”
we ask,

jumping to our old conclusions.





Rae Armantrout is the author of fourteen books of poems, including Wobble (2018), a finalist for the National Book Award; Partly, New and Selected Poems (2016); and Versed (2009), which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2010. Her work appears in many journals and anthologies. She is professor emerita from UC San Diego and currently lives in the Seattle area.