Presented by North Shore Community College

Rhina as an infant

Rhina as an infant, with her parents.

Bilingual/Bilingüe

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Their Only Child

Watch Rhina read this poem

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I am the one that doesn't get away.
Their blood tumbles with promise, teeming
quicksilver too luminous to stay;
I am their whole catch, landed and streaming

rainbows. Those others they dream of--the charmer,
the saint, my father's magnificent son--
circle the wormed hook, but sensing harm,
slide on forever. I am the one

trailing their bait through the film of the ideal,
rising to this flawed light. No more, no less,
than actual, like a death, I am the real
one, the waking, the caress.

From Rehearsing Absence

 

  An old friend unfamiliar—and therefore impatient—with the way poetry works once said to me, “but why doesn't the poet simply say what he means right out?” The answer is simple: because he can't. If he could, if his meaning were capable of fitting completely and neatly into language, it would probably fit better into prose, which is an excellent medium for direct communication. But what poems have to say typically comes from various—and often contradictory—impulses, and is therefore hard to reduce to perfect verbal clarity.