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The fizzing spark, the lateral leap,
the sideways skitter (mind the gap!),
fugitive dream recalled mid-morning,
déjà vu pouncing without warning,
meandering at an angle – pun
that stops you before you’ve begun,
tattered palimpsest, hapax,
puzzles that stymies you in your tracks,
lacuna, hiatus, sidebar,
sudden swerve, and you are far
along already toward surprise.
Pause a second and surmise.
Your destination was – where?
One sideways step may get you there,
your wings still crumpled, half asleep –
one unassuming lyric leap.
Copyright Rachel Hadas. First published in Plough Quarterly, Fall 2020. Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.
Rachel Hadas’s many books include Questions in the Vestibule and Poems for Camilla. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the O. B. Hardison Poetry Prize, among other honors. Hadas is Board of Governors Professor of English at Rutgers University–Newark.