The Knot

by Sharon Dolin

There is a knot I am caught inside of—the knot of not-knowing before knowing how to say—even to stutter my way. Join in the joinery of words. For if I speak then the ties between letters—the thick braid between words—forms in my throat and a saying leaps out into air into an ear or onto a page and then where am I? Where has the knot gone? If there is a binding of letter to letter—though to speak is connected to sprinkling—as though letters dropped down like manna into a layer anyone could collect and form into a sentence—whose root means to feel, as in sensing toward understanding. Still I remain caught in a mother-utter way, in the knot that precedes speech—the knot that holds me together—even embraces me in this sundered world.


Sharon Dolin is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Imperfect Present (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2022) and a prose memoir Hitchcock Blonde (Terra Nova Press, 2020). A 2021 recipient of an NEA in Translation, her book of translations from Catalan, Late to the House of Words: Selected Poems by Gemma Gorga was awarded the Malinda A. Markham Translation Prize from Saturnalia Books and was shortlisted for the 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize. Dolin is Associate Editor at Barrow Street Press and lives in New York City.