Like Running into Hillary Clinton in the Woods

Elizabeth Knapp

Some poems just won’t let you go, the way
grief finds you where you least expect it—
in freeway gridlock, for example, or while
watching your kids spin on the Tilt-A-Whirl,
the golden thread of their laughter woven
into sunlight. Some poems, like grief, like anger,
seethe just under the surface of your being,
a Bengal tiger pacing in its cage, its strides
a portent, an omen. Nothing, you believe,
happens for a reason, there is no grand
design or fate, & if that poem really wants
to be written, it will pop out from behind
a tall shrub or tree & shake you just a little,
the way some dreams shake us from sleep.


Elizabeth Knapp Headshot

Elizabeth Knapp is the author of The Spite House (C&R Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 De Novo Poetry Prize, and Requiem with an Amulet in Its Beak (Washington Writers’ Publishing House, forthcoming 2019), winner of the 2019 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize. Her other honors include the 2018 Robert H. Winner Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and a 2017 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Quarterly West, among others. An associate professor of English at Hood College, she lives in Frederick, Maryland with her family.