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Feb 19, 2013
@ 11:55 am
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Megan Kaminski on “My syntax shift

My syntax shift

My presence on the winter boat contradicted
all prescience on the matter of drowning
far into the Atlantic.  Further west near the Hudson,
autumnal blankets whisper over mountains
and through resurrectionless forests.  Imagine flying from
boats to biplanes, sprinkling dust and dawn along
the way.  The undoing of summer made my syntax shift
and examine your listing out center the bay.  Somewhere along the journey,    
your boat drifted away, off to a triangle or under a bridge. 
Its casing stressed beyond regulation, and its seaworthiness
questionable, at the very least.  In damask-lined parlors
I marvel at the congenital daybreak, compute
ratio of wave to tree.


"My syntax shift" is both at the heart of Desiring Map and an outlier in the book. It is the only poem that uses the sentence as unit of composition, hence its title—so, in that way it certainly works within a different cadence, a different logic from the other poems. The poem also marks a shift in the book—away from the dreamy renderings of place in the sequence that it concludes and into the more concrete spatiality of the Kansas plains. It captures, perhaps better than any other poem in the collection, a sense of memory and longing and the way that those things can connect and carry us across space and time. Read more.

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