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Two Poems


Lateral

In the province of Gallia Narbonensis and the region of Nemausus there
is a marsh called Latera where dolphins and men co-operate to catch fish.
                                                 —PLINY THE ELDER, Natural History

In spite of a dolphin wearing through, every two hours, his outer layer
of conveyor-belt polymer, in spite of the spill of venom
by which his affiliates used to lure
mullet into their nets having taken its course
through his veins, he simply won't hear of how his affiliates outsource
their dirty work to another ring of the plenum.

Even the blue heron may backpedal
as he pins a medal
to his uniformed chest while vaunting cutoff denims,
yet a dolphin won't rethink his having left it to men
to send mixed signals to the mullahs they processed in some holding pen.
 

Pelt

Now rain rattled
the roof of my car
like holy water
on a coffin lid,
holy water and mud
landing with a thud

though as I listened
the uproar
faded to the stoniest
of silences ... They piled
it on all day
till I gave way

to a contentment
I'd not felt in years,
not since that winter
I'd worn the world
against my skin,
worn it fur side in.


Paul Muldoon

Selected Poems 1968-2014
Farrar, Straus and Giroux


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