Nancy Keating

The Grammar of Stasis


So, self-portrait as a windmill.

Sing, one-pointed desire, Dona Quixote repeating

I want to do right but not right now.

Stand, the stiffness of my dress,

all cedar shingles ruffled in East End gales.

Stir, the groaning arms that lift to greet

such intimacies. Yes, wind came to me

and I welcomed its handling, was built for it.

Straining, spinning, I only knew

one dance. Oh, sigh all around me,

why was I made to wait?

Stuck, I fought against

the salty air, looking out,

never up. Stay,

Mrs. Married and Safe,

sails snapped off, my canvas

rotted from stillness and sun.

Sting, world blowing past me.

I always did what I was asked.

Nancy Keating‘s poems have been published by New Letters, The Gettysburg Review, Carolina Quarterly, and elsewhere. She has an MFA from Stony Brook University and teaches at Farmingdale State College when she is not knitting.