100th Volume Retrospective: Untitled by Kate Farrell

Kate Farrell has taught poetry in nursing homes, in public schools, and at Columbia. She has published multiple books, including poetry anthologies coauthored with Kenneth Koch.


by Kate Farrell

Most of all, her hair
smells like shampoo
catching on shoulders
then waves dark brown
nearly to her waist.
Her neck is so straight, and thin that one
can imagine her back,
how it would look,
hair parting at spine
falling softly forward as
she bends down
to pull up a stocking,
scratch a smooth ankle.
Think of her shower
this morning, hair
pinned high—
she shakes it out
loose, think of her drying
on a towel, sunning on a huge
towel, rubbing lotion,
ribs through navel
napping, sweat beads
all over, hair
damp and heavy as she
lifts it from neck.
The cooling beach wind
on her neck, through her
hair a she sits

chin lifted, combing
with fingers out of habit.
Imagine hair smooth
and bright as now,
as if just washed,
just brushed at a mirror,
at a dinner, a play, or reading in
a chair by a window while
she waits to go out.
Imagine it dark
on a pillow while she sleeps.

from Vol. 54 (1975)