Original poem reprinted online here: "Part of Eve's Discussion" by Marie Howe
Originally read: August 18, 2013
More information about the Poet: Marie Howe
The poem works on the slippery nature of definitions. The number of "it" and "you" spread around the poem try to blur the each noun and define more of the confusion. What's Eve's Discussion? Clarification through obscuring.
"It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your hand, / and flies" It holds the most power in these lines, but note the intent focuses on the feeling and experience -- the intent from the bird "deciding not to eat from your hand and flies" shows more about the "you" than the bird. There's the interpretation of actions according to the you based on "decide." The following descriptions are more on the image side, "just before it flies, the moment the rivers seem to still / and stop because a storm is coming." But again, look at the word "seem" which indicates more of interpretation from the "you"
Then the negation happens as though set the you on a concrete path, "but there is not storm, as when / a hundred starlings lift and bank together before they wheel drop, your car could spin," Note the shift from the past to the present and all of it defined through negation. The simile comparing the lack of a storm to a lack of control of the the car. There should be a sense of panic, but rather there's a consistent though of losing control which is actually consistent.
"just before it slowly begins to spin like / the moment just before you forgot what it was your were about to say," Another strong simile in which goes direct to the "forgot" part. The birds, storms, wheel, and cars mean nothing to the "you" at this point, rather what is forgotten, "it was like that, and after that, it was still like that, only / all the time."
Oddly, I feel the last line is the most specific in address the ambitiousness, the act of forgetting based on which is forever. But what about meaning? That goes away as well.