A Web Del Sol Featured Writer

Dorianne Laux

Death is not romantic. He is dying,
no matter how I see it, no matter
what I believe, that fact is stark
and one dimensional, atonal,
a black note on an empty staff.

Sketch by Michael Kopacz

Dorianne Laux was born in 1952 in Augusta, Maine and is of Irish, French and Algonquin Indian heritage. Between the ages of 18 and 30 she worked as a gas station manager, sanatorium cook, maid, and donut holer. A single mother, she took occasional classes and poetry workshops at the local junior college, writing poems during shift breaks. In 1983 she moved to Berkeley, California where she began writing in earnest. Supported by scholarships and grants, she returned to school when her daughter Tristem was 9, and was graduated with honors from Mills College in the Spring of 1988 with a B.A. Degree in English.

Laux's first book of poems, Awake, published by BOA Editions in 1990, was nominated for the San Francisco Bay Area Book Critics Award for Poetry. Her poetry has appeared in numerous American journals and anthologies. She has received poetry fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the National Endowment for the Arts. What We Carry is her second book of poems.

Dorianne Laux, from How it Will Happen, When
There you are, exhausted from a night of crying, curled up on the couch, the floor, at the foot of the bed, anywhere you fall you fall down crying, half amazed at what the body is capable of, not believing you can cry anymore. And there they are, his socks, his shirt, your underwear and your winter gloves, all in a loose pile next to the bathroom door, and you fall down again. Someday, years from now, things will be different, the house clean for once, everything in its place, windows shining, sun coming in easily now, sliding across the high shine of wax on the wood floor. You'll be peeling an orange or watching a bird spring from the edge of the rooftop next door, noticing how, for an instant, its body is stopped on the air, only a moment before gathering the will to fly into the ruff at its wings and then doing it: flying. You'll be reading, and for a moment there will be a word you don't understand, a simple word like now or what or is and you'll ponder over it like a child discovering language. "Is," you'll say over and over until it begins to make sense, and that's when you'll say it, for the first time, out loud: He's dead. He's not coming back. And it will be the first time you believe it.

Selections from the work of Dorianne Laux:

Poetry, Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

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