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Urban Genesis

Clay makes muddy limbs
         and hollows.
A sheltered stand of sinking

roots, the river's pleasured
         act of vanishing—
this magician's tricks

leave nothing but
         a stick where a willow
or an oak stood, where

the land was once dry
         and even, yielding
grass and fixing rocks

as if they were permanent history.
         Burnt wings
and split bones

aren't the only archaeologies
         that float.
Plastic duck, the flute that's rusted,

keys that can't open
         anything anymore.
In the deep there are houses

where even the drawers
         are filled with mud.
No excavation will release

the inscribed books, histories
         of correspondence,
sheaths of hand-scrawled poems,

loose black and white faces
         still grinning
through the muck and dark.

Rebecca Morgan Frank

Little Murders Everywhere
Salmon Poetry / Dufour Editions

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