Poetry Project: Saw You There by Ander Monson

When this poem showed up in my email last week, It was love at first sight. First sight of the word “Redbox” that is. I find poetry that elevates the mundane into something extraordinary to be my favorite. When a poet can take something as commercial and omnipresent as a Redbox and turn it in to something poetic it makes me weak in the knees. Combine that with Monson’s sometimes antiquated language (“ashen face and hair of flax”) and you get an fascinating and beautiful piece. It’s a poem that begs to be read aloud.

Saw You There by Ander Monson

“Carrie says I should make my connections into a poem.” —Dennis Etzel Jr.

Sawed you there, through you there, girl whom I name
Carrie, shine of sun on bonnet-handle at that Walgreens
on 28th. A Friday night. It looked like you came straight
from fighting something that looked like lightning.

You were all scorched up. Tired look but with a residue
of glow, not in the family way, as they used to say,
and as I still do, since I venerate the old, but filled
to the heart with stars. Looking light years away, the way

you operated that Redbox: how can a girl seem so far
from Earth while at a Redbox? I was the girl in the super-
looking supermarket hat, with ashen face and hair of flax,
heart of gold and such. You didn’t see me staring, not seeing

much of anything. Magician seeking magician’s assistant,
my craigslist ad would say: I will saw through you any day.

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