Issue 3
Let Me See

Let Me See

Let me see, is this real
Let me see, is this real
Let me see, is this real
This life I am living
–Navaho prayer

Nose in book/ white lightning but/ no eagle no golden horse/ I was twenty
not enough silence/ no spacious tawny vista/ thoughtful canyon vulva / nevertheless

white lightning this question ozone year chases year
wishing I had a tribe to tell me the answer

no answer/ asking myself
no answer/ asking God

asking in my pajamas/ aching/ asking in my silks lifting the cocktail
asking sidewalk sycamores is this real/ men foraging in wastebaskets

is this real the suffering and anger in city air thickening every year
is it real my commodious apartment is it real my sixty year marriage

asking if the starry firmament is real and if the muscular river a highway away is real
and my life as the teacher the poet the mother the wife/ like a pink blossom/ now wilting

Is this real/ it is my life/let me see
let me see/ before death please let me finally see


Alicia Ostriker has published sixteen volumes of poetry, including Waiting for the Light (2017), The Old Woman, the Tulip and the Dog (2014), and the National Jewish Book Award winner The Book of Seventy (2010). She has received the Paterson Prize, the San Francisco State Poetry Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award, among other honors. As a critic, Ostriker is the author of the path-breaking Stealing the Language: the Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America.