Two Poems by Rae Armantrout

BOMB 154 Winter 2021
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Armantrout Mockup Hires 2


People are talking about
new hot spots,
viral loads,

murder hornets,

People are talking about
learning new hobbies,

trying to unlearn
object permanence.



A girl’s lugging
a toy ambulance
almost too large
for her to lift—

siren ignored in the distance.


Clothed in torn cloud scraps,
all innocence,

dressed in dustups,
agitated snippets.

Bonsai dissonance—
what we used to call ironic.

“Who told you
you were naked?” 


During an accident, time slows down
not when there is still a chance
of averting disaster,
but, rather, when it’s too late
and we return
from the flurry
of failed actions
to watch things

as they accrue,


If any release of tension
is pleasant,

shouldn’t this also
be true of death?


The sky sifts downward.

The remaining light
is pendulous.

Clarity is what
the leaves
are spittled with.

“Did you call me?”

Rae Armantrout’s Wobble was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award. Her new book, Conjure, was published by Wesleyan University Press in 2020.

Rowan Ricardo Phillips by Gregory Pardlo
Rowan Ricardo Phillips spread from BOMB Magazine 152

From epics to lyrics, Rowan Ricardo Phillips considers poetry’s reckoning with history and how writing will reflect our current crisis for future generations.

What Sustained Us: Film
What Sustained Us Film

For this particularly challenging year, we’ve asked Garrett Bradley, Courtney Stephens, Alex Strada, Ephraim Asili, Nicholas Elliott, Mary Lucier, Tania Cypriano, Alan Licht, and Nina Menkes to tell us what sustained them.

Andrés Jaque and Ivan L. Munuera’s The Transscalar Architecture of COVID-19 by Alex Tell
The Transscalar Architecture Of Covid 19 Jaque L Munuera Offpolinn 10

In mid-March, a still from the reality show Big Brother in Germany circulated on the Internet. It showed the contestants, who had been locked in a house together since early February, relaxing in a hot tub, blissfully unaware of the pandemic surging across the globe.

Originally published in

BOMB 154, Winter 2021

Our winter issue includes interviews with Tashi Dorji, Danielle Evans, Walton Ford, Guadalupe Maravilla, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, the Ross Brothers, and Aaron Turner; DIY cookbooklets from Dindga McCannon; poetry by Rae Armantrout, Imani Elizabeth Jackson, and Allison Parrish; prose by Langston Cotman, GennaRose Nethercott, and Brontez Purnell; a comic by Michael DeForge; protest drawings by Steve Mumford; and more.

Read the issue
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