Not As You Once Imagined (1991)
1993 brought a wonderful letter from Carlos Reyes at Trask House Press, asking for a small manuscript: “I have admired your work since I first came into contact with it.” The book appeared as Not As You Once Imagined. The title, referring more generally to our reach for the ideal, has become a humorous phrase in our household. “what could be, what isn’t,” as I write in “When the Warmth Comes.” Many of these poems later appeared in Clearwater, but a poem like “Apples” has its debut only here.
Praise for Not As You Once Imagined
“Alice Derry loves the real world so intensely that she trusts and delights in the authenticity of its small gesture. She has made her peace with imperfection. These poems are acts of praise, not lightly won, arising from a truthful and noble spirit.” ─Lisel Mueller
Cover art is On the Sound by Liza Jones
Available from Trask House; signed copy from the author, $7.50.
Excerpt from Not As You Once Imagined
You’re just back from Steve’s
with all his unnamed early varieties—
trees that come back year after year
and no one know who named them or when.
You bring them out of the bag
along with some small apple-pears the size of plums
and hold them to my mouth,
let me try each one and comment:
mmm and mhmm and uhmm, that’s interesting—
until my mouth and hands are full.
Because taste counts too.
It longs for that same glut
the eyes claim always,
not one blaming them for their excesses
which weigh nothing—
not connected to all the places
I’m growing softer and rounder each year.
a different kind of sweet than apples,
but as various, as open—
then we’re beyond calories,
where losing control is what it’s
and the late summer sun—
that apple-ripening sun—
tastes along the windows