Rae Gouirand



How could any see the thing
for what it is—

this us
it sounds out—

what does it mean
to walk, to

say when
we were our most loved—

what beauty is—
through here, and

only through here—
there may not be

another place
a refrain

we know
to read things twice.

To stay with yourself
you wander,

to stay with myself
I make a line—

you invoke me
as you go.

One cannot leave
the same way twice.

If home is a space
between there and where—

and if time is a river,


Rae Gouirand’s first collection of poetry, Open Winter, was selected by Elaine Equi for the 2011 Bellday Prize, won a 2012 Independent Publisher Book Award and the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Award, and was a finalist for the Montaigne Medal, the Audre Lorde Award, and the California Book Award for poetry. Her new work has appeared most recently in American Poetry Review, ZYZZYVA, VOLT, The Brooklyner, The Rumpus, Hobart, The California Journal of Poetics, The Hat, and in a Distinguished Poet feature for The Inflectionist Review. She is currently at work on her third collection of poems and a collection of linked essays. (

Photo: Louise Mathias