The Skies Have It

Lisa Rosenberg

Listening to Congress, I’ve fallen through
the looking glass, or something darker still—
where down is up, where sky is/is not blue.

A wild ride, with no ferryman. If truth
be told, and held, it meets with vitriol.
Listening to Congress, I’ve fallen through

levels of hell and back, fits of ague.
I want an antidote that trumps denial
when down is up, when sky is/is not blue.

Toss me a trope. Even as we argue,
I can’t help waiting for the next reveal
issuing from Congress. We fall into

addiction and aversion to the news,
machinations of shady pot and kettle.
So, down is up; the sky is/is not blue

and all our remedies could come unglued.
No easy gig, this shining on a hill.
Listen to Congress, the crash of follow-through:
downpours of uproar to claim the sky’s hue.

The impeachment proceedings have captivated me in the manner of slowly-unfolding disasters. It’s hard to look away. The vitriolic flipping of arguments affects me in an especially visceral way during live coverage. As I was hearing the first lines of this poem, I wanted a fixed structure in which to explore them beyond my biases and arrive at unlikely landings. A villanelle’s quirky, prescribed repetition provides that framework—for wordplay, self-reflection, criticism—much to learn and glean, and a way for me to explore events through a lens of craft.

-Lisa Rosenberg, in conversation, The Skies Have It

Poet and recovering engineer Lisa Rosenberg is the author of A Different Physics, winner of the Red Mountain Poetry Prize. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow and regional Poet Laureate, she holds degrees in physics and creative writing, and worked in the space program. Lisa’s poems explore natural and cultural landscapes, the art of making, and the drive to question inherited models. Her public lectures and nonfiction bring tools of science and art to the urgent discourse on our modes of inquiry and enterprise. She was recently named a MOSAIC Fellow and a 2020 Djerassi Resident in Science and Art.

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