Miracles by Brenda Shaughnessy

Photograph by Andy Mastrocinque

Brenda Shaughnessy will be reading at the upcoming Poems about Nothing event at the Rubin Museum this Wednesday. This poem is from her forthcoming third book,  Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon Press 2012), and was originally published in The Nation (Fall 2010).


I spent the whole day

crying and writing, until

they became the same,


as when the planet covers the sun

with all its might and still

I can see it; or when one dead


body gives its heart

to a name on a list.  A match.

A light. Sailing a signal


flare behind me for another to find.

A scratch on the page

is a supernatural act, one twisting


fire out of water, blood out of stone.

We can read us. We are not alone.


Brenda Shaughnessy received her B.A. in literature and women’s studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and she earned an M.F.A. at Columbia University. She is the author of Human Dark with Sugar(Copper Canyon Press, 2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Interior with Sudden Joy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999), which was nominated for the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, a Lambda Literary Award, and the Norma Farber First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Bomb, Boston Review, Conjunctions, McSweeney’s, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, and elsewhere.  She is the poetry editor at Tin House magazine and currently teaches creative writing at Princeton University and Eugene Lang College at the New School.