Anne Carson

  • Reading 9-11-01

    IN THE DAYS immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11, titles that promised answers in the face of the disaster threatened to keep retired General Electric CEO Jack Welch's straight-talking memoir out of the top slot on best-seller lists. Studies of the Taliban movement, Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization Al-Qaeda, and the ill-fated twin towers themselves predictably climbed the charts, but according to the New York Times, king of the hill was Nostradamus: At the online bookshop, three editions of the prophesies of the sixteenth-century mystic, into whose


    If body is always deep but deepest at
    its surface.

    If conditionals are of two kinds factual
    and contrafactual.

    If you’re pushing, pushing and then it
    begins to pull you.

    If police in that city burnt off people’s
    hands with a blowtorch.

    If quite darkly colored or reddish
    (bodies) swim there.

    If afterwards she would sit the way a
    very old person sits, with no pants on,

    If you reach in, if you burrow, if you
    risk wiping in.

    If a point that has been fed over years
    becomes a little bit alive.

    If the seated figure started out with
    an idea of interrogation.

    If interrogation is a desire to get