Rosanna Warren is the Hanna Holborn Gray Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Her most recent book of poems is Ghost in a Red Hat.
 (February 2016)


The Line

Samuel Palmer: Girl Standing, circa 1826; from William Vaughan’s book Samuel Palmer: Shadows on the Wall, just published by Yale University Press
It’s hard to see them through the lacing of forest shadows, the old crimson blazes on tree-trunks marking the line. Sometimes the tree has fallen. Sometimes the paint has worn away and could be confused for lichen. I clamber down banks, trample underbrush, pause squinting …

Toward High Point

Following you westward along the steep ridge trail in January, I step in your snow-crisped tracks on oak and beech leaf parchment. The waterfall careers down among umbers and blacks of ice-filigreed rock past tattered moss, polishing the shale cliff to a dark gloss.

Porta Portese

—if it once gleamed, if it ticked, if it buzzed, if it oiled eternal youth, if it whispered on an old tape with the sexual lure of infinite cash, if it said I am your private castle and you are a queen, if it lit a …