Rae Armantrout

“Lake-washed chinos,”
the ad said, flashing quickly
across the screen.

She didn’t wonder
what lake they were washed in
or who did the washing. Clearly
no one had washed anything.
She did wonder why someone would think
that someone would think that
“lake-washing” was desirable.
Was it about the remote spot
the words made her see?

She wrote this down
because she recognized it
as a thought—the kind she liked.
Or used to like. One with depth,
with reverb.

Rae Armantrout is the current judge of the Yale Younger Poets Award. She is the author of Finalists; Conjure, a finalist for the Pen/Voelker Award; and Wobble, a finalist for the National Book Award, among other works.
Originally published:
March 1, 2022


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