Janet Norman Knox

Wyckoff Superfund Site Sheetpile Wall
After Matthea Harvey


Consider the wall, its forced embrace,
holding back, holding arm’s length.

Consider the salt, its corrosive face,
trading electrons for rust,

turning iron to ore to dust
to its mantle-fed home.

Home to the wall
to consider its inside, faced

with floating
oil, sinking blebs—

like canola, molasses, caramel
to coat a face

of wood against sea—home
of many eating things.

Consider your face, its flush
of bacteria coating,

trace the line of your cheek,
one finger trading

a trail of cells
mine to yours, yours

on my fingertip holding
an armful of home.



Seven-time Pushcart nominee and finalist for the Discovery/The Nation Award, Janet Norman Knox’s poems have appeared in Los Angeles Review, 5 AM, Crab Creek Review, Rhino, Diner, Seattle Review, Adirondack Review, Poetry Southeast, Red Mountain Review, and Diagram. Her chapbook, Eastlake Cleaners When Quality & Price Count [a romance] received the Editor’s Award (Concrete Wolf, 2007). She received the Ruskin Poetry Prize (Red Hen Press) in 2008. The Los Angeles Review nominated her for 2010 Best New Poets. Her poetry was used by composer Paul Lewis for his 2006 opera, Last Poem on Earth. She participated in a 2011 Jack Straw Foundation Grant in collaboration with artist Syracuse University Professor Anne Beffel. Janet Norman Knox is also an owner of 25-year old Pacific Groundwater Group, an environmental and water resource consulting firm. She is an Environmental Geochemist specializing in contaminant investigations and cleanup like a doctor of the land.

Janet will be giving a Pocket Concert at the Seattle Repertory Theatre on September 28, 2012.

UPDATE:  Janet Knox’s poem, “Carbon Shining on our Faces” is worked into bars of glycerin soap available from the Brightwater Environmental Education Center for a limited time.  (September 30, 2013)