On “Transparent Things, God-Sized Hole” by Dana Roeser

Click here to read the poem.

In the poem, “Transparent Things, God-Sized Hole” by Dana Roeser, it starts off by explaining that everything needs something to hold onto to protect themselves, from objects, to animals, to humans themselves; they all need something to hold onto. The poem starts off, with this girl that is afraid to grow up and move on in her life, because she doesn’t have anything to hold onto and to protect her from the world. Later, she loses control of her life, but after finding religion, she put her life back on track. Later on though, she loses her faith once again, because she feels that she never needed anything to hold onto. Yet, in the end, she realizes that she does need something to protect her no matter what’s going on in her life, which is why she finally ends up finding her faith once again. This goes to show that everyone needs something to hold onto and to protect themselves in life.

Right from the beginning of the poem, you can already see that the author is telling us that everything needs protection. When it says “All transparent things need/ thundershirts. The little ghost hanging from an eave,/ on Underwood/ Street, a piece of/ lavender-tinted/ netting stretched onto/ a metal frame. The Boston/ terriers and Chihuahuas patiently/ wait out storms/ with their eyes bulging/ in their special wraparound shirts.” For example, the little ghost that hangs from the eave on Underwood Street and a piece of lavender-tinted netting stretched onto a metal frame both need thunder shirts which explains that whether alive, dead or nonliving, everything needs something to hold onto, and the thunder shirts were what the ghost and the metal frame stretched netting held onto, to protect themselves. The author then goes on to say that the small dogs wait out storms in their special wraparound shirts, which also signifies that the special wraparound shirts, are the dogs’ protection from the storm, which symbolizes the bigger creatures in the world that could kill them, and their shirts protect them from all that evil.

After that, it says that when the girl described was younger, she was “sleeping under/ two quilts, wearing a wool/ hat in summer,/ when I said/ I was afraid/ otherwise I would/ fly up to the ceiling.”, because she didn’t have anything to protect her, or anything for her to hold onto. She wanted to stay on the ground which relates to her wanting to stay as a little girl forever, and didn’t want to fly up, by growing up and moving on in her life, so she “slept under two quilts, wearing a wool hat in summer”, so that she didn’t have to “fly up” which symbolizes her growing up. She was scared of growing up, because she had not found anything to hold onto, that was special to her, and that would protect her throughout her life.

Later in the poem, it says “Once on a sidewalk/ beside Erie Street/ around the corner/ from Underwood/ where the pointless/ obsolete/ tracks run to a dead end/ on the other side,/ I found a black/ and silver rosary,/ with shining/ onyx beads, like/ the ones/ that you see/ hanging/ from the belts of/ nuns in their habits or priests/ in their chasubles./ I kept it”, which connects back a lot to the girl needing something to hold onto, and to protect her in life. When it says “where the pointless obsolete tracks run to a dead end on the other side”, it means that she was lost in her life, but when it says “I found a black and silver rosary… I kept it” it means that while she was stuck at that dead end in her life, she found herself a rosary, which symbolizes that God and religion were what she needed to protect her and to hold onto. That is what helped her get back on track in her life, and to steer away from that dead end.

Yet again, later in the poem, it seems she has lost faith and is now following a dead end once again in her life, because she only believed in religion so that she could hold onto something that could protect her. In the last few lines, though, it talks about how she has started having faith once again, when it says “Flags/ hold the tree down,/ mark it, make it know/ it’s real.”, because in the end, she really had understood that she needed religion, when the author explains that the flags holding the tree down were marking it, and making themselves known that they were real, is a reference to how God was holding down that tree; which is a connection to life, because trees are alive and help life grow; so that it wouldn’t fly away. This showed her that God was holding life together, and helping it stay stable. This is what showed her that her protection, and what she needed to hold onto was God all along, and that she didn’t need to force herself to believe it, because she ended up naturally having faith.

In the end, she finally found her protection and what she needed to hold onto which was her faith and religion. She started off by not knowing what to do with her life, to then finding religion, which led her life back on track. She then lost that, and had once again found herself at a dead end. She then finally found God, which is what she needed. In the end, she found her protection and what she needed to hold onto, which was she had been searching for her whole life.


While writing about the poem, I was trying to understand what the message was that the poet was trying to convey through the poem. I reread the poem a few times to see if I would have a different perspective on it, and to see if I understood the meaning of it better. I focused on a couple of lines that I thought had the most significant impact on the poem, and then I tried analyzing those few lines to see if I would understand what the poem was trying to say. After doing that, I felt that I was seeing what the poet was trying to convey to us, as the readers, because I found little symbols throughout the poem that I thought connected to each other, so once those symbols were connected, the whole poem became a lot clearer. I think conclusions matter, because it’s always good to wrap something up, especially something as long as an essay; if your reader is lost, a conclusion is a good way to restate all your work, and findings, in a quick way.