Rachel Galvin is a poet, translator, and scholar. Her newest book of poems, Uterotopia, is forthcoming from Persea Books in Fall 2022. Galvin is the author of Elevated Threat Level, a finalist for the National Poetry Series, and Pulleys & Locomotion. She is the translator of Raymond Queneau’s Hitting the Streets, winner of the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize, and co-translator of Oliverio Girondo’s Decals: Complete Early Poetry, a finalist for the National Translation Award. Her current translation project is supported by a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
Galvin's work appears in journals and anthologies including Best American Experimental Writing 2020, Best American Poetry 2020, Bennington Review, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Fence, Gulf Coast, McSweeney’s, The Nation, The New Yorker, and Ploughshares. She is a co-founder of Outranspo, a creative translation collective (outranspo.com), and is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago, where she also teaches in the Creative Writing Program and is the faculty lead for Translation Studies.
In My Sights, Sister
My eyes are polished smooth by sight, they clot like crystals in storm glass,
like my sister brewing beakers of toxin. If we had seen
what had been done, what the helicopter pilot did in our name,
what the special ops team did in our name, what they did
with their hands in our name. What if it were my sister,
what if it were her, what? If we had seen with our own smooth eyes.
Mark the diacritical, my lovely: we’re all wearing our knee-high boots,
every last one of us, we live in a booted nation. A nation girded and gunning.
This moment, this is precisely all, watching takes work, sight takes hours,
takes my eyeglasses, every last one of them, as if they were yours. You can see
there’s a sigh in our sight. What if it were my sister? What if it were,
what. What we saw ground into our eyes with the photos,
with the newspaper reports. What would I say, what can I say if,
what would I say if it were my sister, my own? With my own
beakers of toxin, my own boots, my own hands in my own name