Two Poems by Lynne Potts


Acquisition in the lobby of the El Rancho Hotel, Gallup
New Mexico where the waitress wears braids to her waist

and the train outside slides the rails to a shine. I think
I have mastered facts sometimes, but I only know facsimiles

like mirages on a road where a nail nearly flattened
our tire and you wanted a photo which is when I asked:

how can one nail be exactly like another and not be it;
what’s the difference between a chicken and an egg anyway?

There is no way to tell about the world—what color it was,
when it first came, how long it will stay, or if it will ever leave

or how the chicken and the egg came to be
in the first place —or how they got separated.


Expecting to talk oceans, they found arguments prevailed
with conjectures the way scavenger winds take down tables,
umbrellas, sand castles with sticks sticking up for nationality

dotted lines irrelevant like a brook cliché that goes babbling
over stones in both countries, not to speak of seeping water
tables, leaky dams, the way irrigation wrinkles the land to paper.

They expected jetty talk too, straits, isthmuses, shifting peninsulas
but nothing could be fixed of it — water taking bits and bites
of land mass, corners where women hung laundry, mostly sheets

with ball point pen marks somebody made trying to sketch
a plan to stop seepage but no lines could hold, make us safe
against the forces of wind and the downstream of water’s time.

About the author:

Poems by Lynne Potts have appeared in Paris Review, Southern Poetry Review, California Quarterly, Meridian, American Letters and Commentary, The Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Cincinnati Review, Southwest Review, Backwards City Review, Oxford Magazine, Nimrod, 14 Hills, 2River, The Journal,New Orleans Review, Southern Humanities Review, Gettysburg Review, Hot Metal Bridge, AGNI, Cumberland Review, Poetry Daily and elsewhere. She won both the Backwards City Review prize for Poetry, and the Bowery Poetry Club HD Prize for individual poems. Her first book of poetry, PORTHOLD VIEW won the National Poetry Review Press prize in 2012. The same press is publishing a second book MAME, SOL, AND DOG BARK in 2015.

Lynne is Poetry Editor at AGNI (Boston University) and formerly Poetry Editor of the Columbia Journal of Literature and Art (Columbia University, New York). She lives in Boston and New York.