Every Atom | No. 181

Katie Ford

Introduction to Every Atom by project curator Brian Clements

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I Lift the Gauze and Look a Long Time


Someday this body will be done and what it touched,

and whom, and the curvature of his arm reaching me,

and the fern bent in its earth-down arc.


Now alive,

I feel I can face this bare, and waiting,

and propulsive fact.


I also feel the abstract

makes fools of us all,


but at least if I ready myself

I will see my foolishness

in the quick of my last day’s rotation,


and the fool that I am will be

that much more

severely corrected

by the endless lamps

lit to lead me out—

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Katie Ford is the author of four books of poems, most recently, If You Have to Go (Graywolf Press). A recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Larry Levis Prize, her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Paris Review, and The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ford teaches at the University of California, Riverside. 


Cover art by Katie Bayne