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Two Poems

How we loved to create a world.

Out of gray we made the pin-oak leaves
with their saw teeth and odd waxy sheen,
dry and matte to the touch, out of granite
we made the marriage house, and always
we added a flaw which we called fire
or time or the stranger.

A drop of water on the lip of a jug,
trembling, trying to hold on
for another second to the idea of sphericity—
that was us, our nakedness.
We worked to thwart our happiness
because it was so unexpected;
suffering tasted like our mouths.
We had a flagstone path, a pond, four birches,
a dog racing in tight circles, helpless
against the dream of fresh snow.

Tomorrow that red Schwinn with training wheels
must find a way to pedal itself.

World like a child who learned to walk
beyond our outstretched hands.

Psalm to Be Read with Closed Eyes

Ignorance will carry me through the last days,
the blistering cities, over briny rivers
swarming with jellyfish, as once my father
carried me from the car up the narrow steps
to the white bed, and if I woke, I never knew it.

D. Nurkse

A Night in Brooklyn
Alfred A. Knopf

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