SUBJECTS (Excerpt)
by Caroline Knox

You see them through water and glass,
(both liquids) and through air
with plenty of liquid in it
—water is moving through the air—
you see the large dolphins animated,
unfractious in their native
drink, going
back and forth interacting with
some sort of rings—in a minute-long video—
in a loop, we see these
dolphins again and again
looping through rings,
in indirect discourse
ringing through the loops.
We see, you see, dolphins
advertising something
we don’t have and
we don’t want; advertising
exfoliants and astringents,
which dolphins don’t
know about and wouldn’t
want if they did, the
sloe-eyed ones.  They
make us feel free,
silent. “Nature film,
nature film!” See them
in their independence
through water and glass articulating
dolphin home truths.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Caroline Knox is the author of Nine Worthies and Flemish (Wave Books, 2013). Quaker Guns (Wave Books, 2008) received a Recommended Reading Award 2009 from the Massachusetts Center for the Book. He Paves the Road with Iron Bars, published by Verse Press in 2004, won the Maurice English Award 2005 for a book by a poet over 50. A Beaker: New and Selected Poems appeared from Verse Press in 2002. Her previous books are The House Party and To Newfoundland (Georgia 1984, 1989), and Sleepers Wake (Timken 1994). 

Her work has appeared in American Scholar, Boston Review, Harvard Magazine, Massachusetts Review, New Republic, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry (whose Bess Hokin Prize she won), TriQuarterly, The Times Literary Supplement, and Yale Review. Her poems have been in Best American Poetry (1988 and 1994), and on Poetry Daily. Six poems are anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry, Second Edition.

She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (1996, 2006), The Fund for Poetry, and the Yale/Mellon Visiting Faculty Program.

Photo: Dolphin playing with air bubble (

Editor’s Note (and I did not know this until today — where have I been?): Dolphins blow air bubbles underwater and play with them as toys.