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By Dorothea Tanning

Be perfect, make it otherwise.

Yesterday is torn in shreds.

Lightning’s thousand sulfur eyes

Rip apart the breathing beds.

Hear bones crack and pulverize.

Doom creeps in on rubber treads.

Countless overwrought housewives,

Minds unraveling like threads,

Try lipstick shades to tranquilize

Fears of age and general dreads.

Sit tight, be perfect, swat the spies,

Don’t take faucets for fountainheads.

Drink tasty antidotes. Otherwise

You and the werewolf: newlyweds.


Dorothea Tanning, “All Hallows’ Eve” from Coming to That. Copyright © 2011 by Dorothea Tanning. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: Coming to That (Graywolf Press, 2011)

  • Living
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Dorothea Tanning
Artist and writer Dorothea Tanning grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, and spent almost 30 years living in Paris, before moving to New York City. Her artistic accomplishments included painting, printmaking, sculpture, set design, and costume design, and her work was exhibited in the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate Modern, and the Philadelphia Museum. Tanning started writing poetry in her late ’80s, and her work was subsequently published in the Yale Review, the New Yorker, Poetry, and the New Republic. See More By This Poet

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