Three poems by Rebecca Foust (Poetry ’10)

2010 poetry alum Rebecca Foust was recently featured by the Hudson Review, Verse Daily, and the Poetry Foundation. Read an excerpt of “ALZ Ghazal” below:

ALZ Ghazal

For my sister

It’s the same house, same rugs, same wallpaper, and bedroom repeating;

same dresser; same rocker. Same window and frame, repeating.


Same birds at the pane, same pots and pans, and—on the alarm clock,

the wall clock, the phone clock—the same time, repeating


each hour’s increment in a lived life. But, This is no life, each day like

before and to come, repeating.


The furniture set in a known pattern. The rugs there, like always, inking

the blueprint of home, repeating


jewel tones on the floor, but what was once north–south now seems to lie

east–west—who moved the rugs?—in sum, repeating


the familiar, but sideways. Your inner axis has shifted, the landmarks

somehow changed but the same, you repeating


Why do they keep moving the rugs?  The desk, the chair, your keys?

Home its own balm, repeating


the familiar, but neither keys nor your purse can be found—I know

I just had them—repeating


the questions yields the same, that is, no real answers. Your sense of taste

gone, like eating chum, repeating


the same million small motions: fork to plate then mouth, then back down,

always the same, repeating


the flavor of cardboard. You used to love to cook, that joyous jazz variation-

on-a-theme now a repeating


like pages of musical staffs, xeroxed blank with no notes. Lately, you refuse

to eat anything at all. In a poem, repeating


lines compose a refrain and, echoed again and again, the sum of refrains

is a song. But there is also empty repeating:


zero plus zero plus zero still zero, a void. No accretion, no growth, no life,

no thrum. Then again, birds—some, repeating


one clear note, are said to singing without tune—and, the same set of sounds

from a beaten drum, repeating


means nothing and everything at the same time. The gene runs in families

and can be followed like breadcrumbs, repeating


the precise map for getting lost, down through generations. She took the same

route to work on the town tram, a repeating


my sister relied on. We rely on a plum to taste purple when our teeth break

its skin. Some numbers go on ad infinitum, repeating…



Find the rest of this poem here (and be sure to check out “At the Train Station Circa 1982” and “and for a time we lived” at the Hudson Review and Verse Daily).