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Definition of the Soul


The attempt to separate my soul from yours
is like wringing out a handkerchief
wet from something spilled.

I remember the burned-down house
where a wreath still hung on the door,
a wreath, stone-white to our surprise,
useless, forlorn, like a life preserver
nailed to the shore's churning rubble.

You said the flames went off somewhere,
strengthened, more vile than ever,
perhaps seeking a child's crib.

When speeding tires lofted street water
onto your dress, I admired how you....

And afterward, I brushed your hair,
as you lay dozing on the couch,
your lower lip, a perfect, promising V.

The attempt to separate my soul from yours
is like the creaking of a lamppost
against a sapling in the wind.
Soon someone will come
and hack through the more fragile one.


John Skoyles

Suddenly It's Evening: Selected Poems
Carnegie Mellon University Press


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