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like wild and open water didn't they balance
the megalithic cairns the dolmens the menhirs
didn't your stones pierce each lancet of light
cast into darkness the frozen sea of the heart
land the flat waters of the platte before even
brute fences culled expanse didn't lumbers
of mammoths rock back rock forth shoulder
blades a cradle shoulder blades a plow
didn't the earth hollow itself for water
for water didn't it didn't it hollow itself for
fish you cradled in your palms for life
the hired men came didn't they came
from tryon from york when you called
hauled gravel pumps ribbed hoses torque
to take your stone the gravel the pond floor
the foundation for county roads or driveways
maybe in the city didn't they pay good money
didn't the water grow the hollow in the earth
grow I see your life in the accidental
cairns spit on the bank by their gnashing
machines the sediment relayered the mammoth
tooth unearthed their excavation the molar
the dolmen the menhir the men hollowed
that too sloughed in layers cradled in my palms
the fossil itself mere negative space
absence where the beast pressed its cheek
to your rock hollowed itself beyond confusion
and slept and slept you did

J. P. Grasser

The Cincinnati Review

Summer 2017

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