Early & Late
Paula Goldman

October 2, 2014

When I chose you, I was young & the future
I’d won promised to fan open like a peacock’s
tail, sweeping the world’s riches before my feet. 

So what if the slipper didn’t fit—
I could learn to walk a little differently.
How could someone so unlike myself 

know of my cramped feet, the bleeding? Exchanging
future & looser confederations
for a single stolid Nation, I stood 

on a platform like a promised set of
Hèrmes luggage never to be opened.
As the train pulled out, past all whistle 

stops, I looked back, already blaming you—
princely husband— cause of all my future
woes, forever trying to sooth my stumped toes.

Paula Goldman’s “The Great Canopy” won the Gival Prize for Poetry and published in 2005. Her work has appeared in the Harvard Review, The North American Review, Poet Lore, Poet Miscellany, Briar CliffReview, Slant, and other magazines.  Her poems have appeared in Boomer Girls published by the University of Iowa Press,  The Party Train: A Collection of North American Prose Poetry published by New Rivers Press and most recently Conversation Pieces published by Knopf.  Former reporter for The Milwaukee Journal, she served as a docent and lecturer at the Milwaukee Art Museum.  Her manuscript “Late Inamorato” was a finalist for the 2012 Gival Press Poetry Award.

What motivates her to create:
“I find that writing poetry gathers all sorts of associations which one would not consciously think about bringing together like The Red Shoes and Hermes in Early & Late. By writing, I come closest to myself in no other way possible. One never knows, for sure, what one is going to discover, and it is this discovery that is so worthwhile.”