Eleanor Swanson Challenges With Unsettling Metaphors
Disturbance of Surfaces
Strange metaphors succeed: solstice fish,
carnal soup, swallowtail taxidermist,
and other phrases that ripple
the once-glassy lake where chakra eyes
now appear, floating provocatively.
A coyote appears in the park,
(this poem will not bring peace
to the grief-stricken or explain
blood or how to staunch it.)
Comments will be included
on how the wind has ended
--with a few terrifying gusts--
the life of a tree.
That through all of this cold,
pure daylight, a coyote walks
across a sere field, its long
thick tail moving at a metronome’s
slow beat, reminding you this
isn’t the dog next door.
The day has fierce teeth
that break the skin without
drawing blood. The body
alive, the skin alive, lips
that can suck, the tongue,
that plump wonder,
the brown grasses telling
you to love this brown,
its delicacy, its mutedness.
What should we memorize.
as we live, speak, sing?
I try to memorize the cold of this day;
cold that burns, breathing through
fleece, breath slime.
Omne ignotum pro magnifico
Whatever is unknown
is held to be magnificent.
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Two Poems In Contrast From Poet Leslie Philibert
The cold changes
the weight of my steps.
Each door opens with glass.
Dogs bark in circles.
Milkfloats whine in electric.
My parka tired with old dirt.
The early moon carelessly ignored.
My hands are dark with print.
Nearly in another life
I discover the inner life of gates
and how to dance
around plants and bikes
and how to grow
into a morning.
Lost out of the picture,
fallen out of life,
cut-eyed shut down
from all the cars and trains
and all this carrying and breaking
and lines of words without spaces.
You breathe softly, regular,
as if in a deep wood,
as paced as a slow piston
in exile to yourself,
a half life turned inside
as if the strings that
could lift you
hang loose in the sunlight.
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Joshua Gray: Three Moons, Three Poems
When a wort finds the time to kill
or turn your mind to madness
as is its potent will,
then no use in fighting your blindness.
Double, double toil and trouble;
(eat these bugs, they'll beat your rash)
Fire, burn; and cauldron, bubble
(the alewives work to stock your stash).
Drink your garden, brew your plan;
the wortwives burned to save their clan.
an egg to see
the eye of our vast
universe: dense & full
of the silent yet immense
makings of perfection;
this imperfect orb has
relief from hunger,
thanks to a lovely
thing we call
Do not lift
Those bones from the river's bank --
For the trees will topple.
Even the bear knows
When the pink fish swim again
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It's All About Pink, Then And Now, In Dana Rushin's Latest Poem
I had a girl who,
from a newborn child, loved pink.
So now I love pink. I have a pair
of pink pants. Some pink shoes.
A pair of pink Scooby Doo headphones (willed to me).
The neighbor girl wears her hair in
a pink bob.
Sometimes the outline of night is pink.
There was pink in my brother-in-laws casket.
The pathologist showed us
the model of the healthy pink lung.
His was not that color.
The insides of 93 percent of the
vertebrates on the planet earth are pink.
I don't think I like frogs much. But
don't they burrow in the mud and sand
in their neo-Darwinian mornings
with pink vertebrate on their sticky tongues.
I went to Washington DC with my folks
where the declaration of independence
was under a glass casing. The years had
turned the corners of the document pink.
Oh shit! The dove bar swimming in this
tub of soil and excretory skin is slavishly
to washing me pink. Pink hospital gowns
are worn by the women who
bring my towel.
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Mary Anne Rojas And A Harsh Judgement Of Self
after "Miss Celie's Blues"
your’re right, I know nothin’
about this thing I call me--how
I want to crawl out of my coffee skin
full of yelling and show the world
that love is a body full of knots,
like tumbleweed, like a bag of barbwire.
your’re right, I know nothin’
of home, where the dance of my
body breaks like the tease of a syllable
after the harsh wind lulled me to speak.
I taught myself my name once. I found
it under my tongue talking back to nothing,
as if I owed myself something more,
as if my accordion breath wanted to
escape the music of my throat, pry
open the wind with broken sound
and left over accent. But--
your’re right, I know nothin’
about this thing I call me, a home
where an empty belly bellows the
itch of a fleeing name like a run away
mouth, afraid of quiet when the
windpipe is nothin’ but a whistle
from a faraway echo. but--
your’re right, I know nothin’
of my name.
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We Welcome Poet Rivka Zorea To VerseWrights
Symphony in Red
Do not be alarmed
the world is dying
a gentle death
or at least a slow one
It isn't young you know
and has lived a full-of-everything
It is not a painful death.
The world has terminal reality
A boa constrictor has wrapped
its diamond and gold labeled
body about the neck of Mother Earth
A fatal squeeze can be mistaken
for a hug you know
Don't fear the ending
the decaying breath
the blood curdling
Clashing in tiny wrinkled wars
They are merely the gags and throes
of the dying
There has to be blood soaked
spittle and atomic foaming
at the mouth
But after all
nothing lasts forever
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Laura Madeline Wiseman: Death and Sarcasm
Museo de la Muerta
There are many ladies of death here. That one there rides in a cart, but she doesn’t hold the reigns. That one stands in a cloak, bow held at ready. Those two there are behind glass in a case of carved men. Some of them sit in thrones like small gods. Some are merely pictures. I want to sit and stare at them, but you want to read all the plaques, aloud, and for me to make listening noises. I make listening noises in the yellow light, on the bench, eyeing each lady of death—toothy smile, scraggly hair, all those death arrows. I’m not as skinny as her, but I could be. I murmur oh, hmm. I add to your long pause, Muerta—death gendered female.
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Charlie Brice Turns To The Odyssey For His Latest Poem
The Great Tactician
There you were naked
at the river’s edge,
after your two day swim.
Nausicaa stood over you
when you awoke
a smile of yearning
on her soft lips.
You thought she was
beautiful and terrifying.
You didn’t know whether
to grab her knees
and hope for mercy,
or use your honeyed speech,
beg some clothes,
the direction into town.
You chose words and
she showed you a mercy
that, had you paid attention,
could have changed Western Civilization.
you ate her father’s food,
tossed the discus around,
impressed her brother
and all the boys,
but once back in Ithaca,
you destroyed your enemies
with a wrath that would have shamed Achilles.
Your boy even hung their lovers,
watched, with glee,
their tiny feet dance to death.
What of their pleas for mercy,
What of Nausicaa’s compassion,
man of all occasions?
You chose words and so did they,
but your heart was cold with greatness.
We could have had
three thousand years of mercy.
your savagery endures:
the glory of dead heroes
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Edjo Frank Unnerving With "Book, slipper, cat"
Book, slipper, cat
humbly for wind and god
time crumples the book
chagrin chases forgotten words
of no name or yesterday
you put off your reading glasses
there is nothing to be understood
of a hooked story
of dark after dusk
of howling from the airshaft
of draft that makes your legs freeze
shudder taunts himself up
fills the cavities of your skull
nests in the deep holes
of an uprooted memory
saliva dripping little strings
on the veins of your hand
your trembling hand
opens by a spasm
the book falls
your slipper kicks
the cat looks disapprovingly
or is this just imagination
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Jill Lapin-Zell Returns With A "Lasting Impression"
You made an impression
With your shining smile
And incandescent eyes
Your simple equanimity
And strong, broad shoulders
You made an impression
With rampant curiosity
In the funkiest of places
Full tilt boogie attitude
And your arm around my waist
You made an impression
With a sweet warm kiss
And hugs from way down deep
Studded jean jacket
And beat up old cowboy boots
You made an impression
On a windy Philadelphia street corner
In a Dunkin Donuts at 4 a.m.
With cups of warm steamy love
And lingering gazes
You made an impression
Sweet memories in place
Left a wisp of future dreams
Yet to be realized
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Juliet Wilson: Pulling Through By Rising Above
In a war zone existence, delimited
by snipers, landmines and hostile troops,
a couple fall in love.
Alchemists, they make a home with
scavenged chairs, a broken table, a second-hand bed
and a sense of humour.
They transcend the ordinary, buoy themselves
against the terrible gravity of war
with the feather lightness of joy.
The pull of vestigial wings between their shoulders
lifts them above their troubled town.
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Ram Krishna Singh's Newest Group Of Tanka
curves to the haze
in the west
skimming the sail
on soundless sea
Standing at the edge
I long to float with waves and
wave with instant wind:
on the dream water’s breast
I read tomorrow’s wonder
I fear the demons
rising from my body
at midnight crowding
the mind and leading the soul
to deeper darkness
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Samantha Reynolds Makes A Convincing Case
How I Know I Am an Optimist
I know I am an optimist
because I am always pleased
when the house is tidy
like the conqueror
of somebody else’s land
and I believe it will stay that way
that I am not Sisyphus
that the boulder
will not fall again
and when your dad sings from downstairs
there’s somethin’ dead or dyin’
in our fridge
in his best Neil Young voice
I know that I will simply hunt down the soft lump
throw it away
and we will never waste food again
and when your sister
takes all the clothes off the hangers
while I am folding laundry
and you yell
it’s a emergency
because you meant to print
one copy of the Snow White picture
but for some reason it printed 60 copies
and we can’t get it to stop
I just lay down on the floor
and let the rhythm of the printer
like a heartbeat
it will be different
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Tracey Gunne Uses The Seasons As Metaphor In "Efflorescence"
you send white roses
is that how you want me
pure and void
of any color or scent
lackluster but with
a hint of danger
my hands tied
indebted only to you
you bring orchids
a plant hungering for crushed bone
decaying flesh. all the pieces of me
i hoped were dead and gone
now potted and pruned
wilting in your adoration
if you choose to stay
find comfort in my madness
it could take years
to hollow me out
separate me from
this mildewed heart
you nourish the soil
manipulate sunshine and raindrops
to do your bidding
scatter seeds in casual disarray
forth and back
the wind hazardous for the love protruding
not so firmly rooted
even though you tend with faithful hands
weeds advance and blossom
more dense between my thighs
softened by touch
where your scent lingers heavy
you plant violets
there is nothing here
to ground me
the holes you dig are small
a garden cultivated by
my purple moods
releasing soft lobes
of petals falling
on what you perceive
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Wayne F. Burke: Hoppy and Choppy
Do the Herky-Jerky
Lines chopped like veggies. Ready
to go into the pot. Or like a bad
driver's failure to anticipate. Quick
stops: brake's red hot. Like Bennington,
Vermont: a stop sign on every corner.
Like an unfinished thought. Like a
construction site. Be prepared for
delays. Proust would never go this
way. Nobody but a poet chopped. Or
reader dragged behind like a tow line.
From place to place. Like a corpse.
Driven about. A drunk at the wheel of
the hearse. The corpse says "let me out."
The car is stopped. Or not. The periods
accumulate. Like buckshot. An ellipsis
sneaks in...why not? Louise Gluck: the
less great early stuff. First book: Firstborn.
Chopped on a block. Celery and carrots.
Into the pot. A boiled plot. This poem has
come to it's start. I chop it off with a dot.
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Two New Poems From The Pen Of Stefanie Bennett
Leap-Frog, 21st Century
You get the Kafka look-alikes -.
You get the word eating strays -.
In funeral grey.
And an 'a' plus 'x'
The Luddite theorem
Give or get
The mythic handshake
Of The Ferryman.
Discourse, Pascal Style
Just because the postman
Empty handed -,
And the Linden Tree
Bears no fruit -,
And friends travel
On a mistaken
That the inconspicuous one
The Chekov soiree's
The first singer -.
The last song...
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The Latest Poem From Poet Polly Robinson
Today’s the day,
today’s the day they die.
In every line,
on fine-boned faces,
in bowed heads,
starved slump of shoulders,
nooses around necks,
the way city keys
in hot hands
held against hurting head,
today’s the day.
Today’s the day they die.
the envoys’ walk,
sandals tied with string
shuffling through dust,
as grit cuts;
rope pares skin.
they stumble to the square
as yet unaware,
today, they’ll be saved
by a claim,
an infant yet to be born.
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We Warmly Welcome Poet Michele Seminara to VerseWrights
An Epistle to my Paedophile
Doubtless you won’t comprehend
me writing you this way;
for you are harmless
in laboured rasps, your body
by the karmic stroke
of luck which all the girls
you might have met
don’t even know
they should be glad of.
I was not so fortunate.
I knew you when your limbs
still had the power to insinuate
themselves into Christmas lunch
and re-calibrate the trajectory
of uneventful lives.
(Strange, I never thought to tell,
the chest of smut beneath your bed,
the dancing doll’s skirt, lifted to reveal --
Or your pudgy hands which turned like moles
in the incestuous burrows of their pockets,
jingling coins that lured, and repelled…)
What a relief it was today to find them stilled.
Pale members, no longer in the service
of the perverse familial compulsion
which thwarted me, as it did you.
Instead, you have become the baby
you once must have been:
helpless (hapless?) in your cot,
as I was, legs akimbo;
and this is perfect, a perfect way of seeing
because the unsullied space of your mute
presence allows me to impute
whatever version of this I want to --
from your side, recognition, remorse;
from mine, forgiveness, love.
But I don’t need that now.
We are at peace, you and I,
our transaction complete.
There is no more fear.
Only wonder, at how one clot of blood
lodged within a flawed man’s brain
can assuage so much suffering:
what a wise solution, so elegant,
the vessels swollen to bursting
with compassion for us all --
surely that drop was placed, just so,
by the delicate hand of God.
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Neil Fulwood: "Bulstrode. Bull. John Bull"
The Prince of Torremolinos
“I suppose the Bulstrodes will go and live abroad somewhere…That is what is generally done when there is anything disgraceful in a family.”
—George Eliot, Middlemarch
Money has put him where he is now,
a man of business in a tourist trap.
Money took him through Fuengirola
and Benalmádena, an expatriate
carving a niche. Greased palms,
slick talk, bodies oiled and bronzing
lined up along the beaches like hot dogs
waiting to be turned on the grill,
pockets waiting to be turned out
in the bars. A loan here, a favour there,
a signature on the dotted line.
His name assumes a currency.
Bulstrode. Bull. John Bull.
Deals done cash in hand, off the books
and auditless. Some local muscle
to back him up, a reputation
ambivalent enough to make a tough guy
hesitate, but not scare investors off.
Money accrued. Money rubbing up
against itself, non-consecutively.
Money dancing its rude tango.
A couple of bars, a casino, interests
in a hotel complex. Money brought him
here, made him what he is now –
the prince of Torremolinos.
Bulstrode. Bull. British bulldog.
Twisted as a pound sign, in thrall
to the value of the Euro, he curses
the nubile acres of the beach
if his day-old copy of the Daily Mail
costs him more than it did last week.
He turns his back on the tanned ranks
of girls languorously arranged
as if auditioning for reality TV,
turns his back on the lads strutting
their pimply delusions. They’re nothing
till evening fetches them in, nothing
till their lusts and wallets are his.
Bulstrode. Bull. Businessman.
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E. H. Ford And The Art Of Composition
I’ll watch the words
work this page.
Although, I might want you
to add the meaning.
Writing is personal for me.
as a carpenter inspects the edge of a board for
straightness--I examine each stanza
for level meanings.
Words are not handled
like a boat leaving the
harbor against a rough
Fame has no rank.
There is only the last
word on the last page
as safe harbor for today.
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Joanna Suzanne Lee's Latest Poem: Cause and Effect...
other consequences of a high water table
to low-slung graves, each
without a fear of drowning.
lichen covers tree limbs
and lichyard; time is slowed
to the speed of waves.
This is a no-wake zone,
i joke as we drive
through standing water,
the big houses on stilts
but the funeral home
flush with the marshes.
i wonder if when they turn
on their flatscreens
with remote flicks
from sofas sagged
down by the stains
of so many salt-damp
years, they listen
to the news of ISIS and middle-
eastern wars and missing
and feel like they're
from a different world, or
if they think of dark waters,
and that there are
worse ways to die.
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We Extend A Warm Welcome To Poet Ian C Smith
I clumsied my second-hand clock from wall to floor,
batteries skating over crumbed tiles.
When the second hand moved forward,
those batteries snugly re-nooked,
the clock re-hooked, back to despot status,
I day-dreamed about time’s durability.
Listening to a train tracking to the port
I remember a lake flickering through pine trees,
long languid nights on slow-moving trains,
shadows swaying, never to be repeated,
present becoming instantly irretrievable.
Yet I squander it dreaming of the adroit past.
I notice my clock’s hours are reversing,
travelling absurdly through time past.
Nine o’clock has become eight o’clock,
arousing a vague idea of the perfect trip
from age to youth, reliving train whistles,
back to laughter, music crying out, love.
I am stuck with old and clumsy,
neither I nor magic clock setting speed records.
I ponder other less than ideal time-travel aspects,
such as the clarity of grief growing ever wilder
or nothing happening again and again.
Mocked by a clock, my enthusiasm wanes.
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Michael Lee Johnson: Different As Night And Day
Poem of Sinners and Saints
Moonlight cracks open
like a walnut, spreads soft light across open sky.
They dart to alleyways, bury themselves behind
their own trails shaking fists at the sky;
hiding their nasty nonsense in shame,
city buildings rattle their bricks, mortar loose at their rib .....cage.
Where do sinners break out from when their deeds .....exposed?
All men think they are sword men daggers in darkness.
All women think they are entry points leaning against .....brick walls,
slender on sidewalks past midnight,
nothing but shadows, twitching of lips.
Women look for drawing cards in their makeup kits.
No one cares jackals, scavengers, men tempted by .....night.
Thunder dreams hammer at their ears,
rain urinate sins on street corners,
mice crawl away to small places shamed.
Footsteps scatter directions as sunlight sprouts.
Misdeeds carry no names with them
they trip blind, racing to morning jobs.
Early morning crows fly.
Sin hurts staples in women's lungs, staples dagger in .....men's ribs.
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Two New Poems From Poet Björn Rudberg
Binary — her broken bones,
encoded, loaded into sequences
of purplish vacancies.
In magnetic vortex arithmetic
building boolean combinations,
the manifolds of truth.
Ever they are multiplying
in my sterile petri-dishes,
that non-organic snot,
the virtual clouds of mental flu.
And then when obsolete — discard
the floppy betamax disaster,
or convert to fiberoptic bliss.
But who shall mend
— her broken bones?
Far from Vietnam
Our mind is set on chrome and motor oil
on gasoline and blazing sun.
The tarmac serpent licks the soil,
and counting miles our engines run,
towards a target far out west
to places where we still can breathe,
to villages not yet blessed
with homes for soldiers tombstone wreaths.
In countries far from Vietnam.
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Wally Swist And The Gentle Promptings Of Nature
The morning sun shining through
the adolescent maple graces itself
beyond the two front windows
of my studio. The light this time
of the year is often more
of an inflected silver than struck
gold; and the maple’s leaves are
such a shade of scarlet,
that is infused with yellow, it is
as if the foliage is nuanced with
Monet's vibrant pastels
and cast in Rodin's hammered
bronze. How fortunate we are
to live in the world that offers us
its constant reminders of who
we are and what our true being is.
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A Warm Welcome To Poet Vaishnavi Nathan
My Name is Vaishnavi
Fishnavi. Vashinari. Vishvani.
My name, as if it were a wet bar soap,
fumbles on first encounters.
I stopped correcting them.
The coterie made me believe
that accommodating everyone is
the easiest way to assimilation.
"Oh, do you have another name?"
”Yes, it’s a mouthful. V, will do.”
”V for Vietnam?”
I, casually, negate myself from
the primitive part of me -
my name, my Indian ancestry.
"Could I have a name to go with the coffee order?"
"Whom shall I say is calling?"
"Hi! Please introduce yourself to the team!"
Just V. Barely V. Almost there V.
Chronic censorship to accommodate you.
"My name is Vaishnavi."
Vai - ish - ner - vee
Don’t be afraid to roll your tongue.
Take your time with it.
I am patient.
Now, say my name.
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From Janet Aalfs, A Short And Poignant Ode
Ode to a Lost Sweater
I see it now
like a simple word
spoken into the wind.
in our mother's palm
from a hand-me-down
we had each outgrown.
Wool deep red as embers
that smolder in a circle of stone,
and the scent of Grandma's roses,
her gracefully wrought cable stitch
moths in an attic barrel
had chewed until split.
I see it
like a phantom wound
knits itself a scar,
and a heart-spun word
chanted into the wind
calls down a star.
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A Poem From Alexis Ivy: "Boston Marathon"
Now it’s pressure cookers taking lights
out, blowing limbs loose, tearing bricks
down like in the blizzard of ’78.
My city’s always in revision. Even I
edit myself, try not to exaggerate,
no all, no always just once I had
thought explosions near
the finish line meant Victory.
I didn’t grow up mannered
in the Commonwealth, no linen
napkins on my lap, but on paper
plates in Jamaica Plain. I know
how dirty half-melted snow
can get in certain corners
of Mattapan, fights start out,
windows stay broken, hate
crimes stay caked on the storefronts
Crack Territory. How much to buy
an endangered turtle in Chinatown?
And now it’s murder on Boylston
Street, one of Childhood’s
main drags. Even I was
dangerous once, late summer
overheating the cars too long.
(Posted in Boston City Hall, 2014)
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Poet Witty Fay's Latest: A Pair Of Companion Poems
All the women I have been
Through the great tower of years,
Claiming their place
Under my skin,
Biting at the hem of time
In the seven day worth
Of my still.
Stepping on puddles of joy
As the soles smell of
Crushing the day's crop.
Fate flows unimpeded
Through their obsidian veins,
Its open vessels in line.
And the women whisper
Loud chants as they encircle
The steps that foretell the vine.
And their song inhabit the lips
Tainted by the red of the wine
Dream a dream that is not a dream
Under the orange light of the hissing moon
Ghost love throbbing within the flesh
Like a heartbeat fallen between the legs
Then coiled at the feet of a sea dawn,
Glaring at the day with hellish eyes
Of a pain that would walk unhindered
The days of the woman
And the nights of the man.
There is but one more circle to sketch
Until pain is denuded of all leaves
And the locomotive of flesh resumes
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L.L. Barkat: On the Button
The News, March 2011
I found a button,
It was sitting like the last star
in a mangled universe,
and all our brilliance
were melting a hole
into the earth
and invisible dust
kept falling, falling
out and over
day, night, history.
I picked it up--
and thought of your
curved as a shell
and just as delicate;
I thought of thin white cotton,
a blouse to touch
and a line of empty buttonholes.
Then I knew
that the sea must have taken it
this mother-of-pearl, this last star,
and I wished for a silver needle
and a virgin spool
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