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The Poetry-Body

         for K. D.

The youngest won't fall asleep
though he keeps resting his head on the table
next to his empty plate.
These are the jewels of his
half-open eyes bewitched by the pale
blossoming spines of the centerpiece flowers
no one remembers the names of—
these are the sparks flying up
from the fire and the night
pressing in on the windows.

I know by now the harsh stillness
of a winter night by the beach,
the moon half hidden
low and dim
and sometimes I think
poetry has failed me,
the nights gone by and chances missed
all breathing deeply beside me—
"a fluttering of feathers,"
you called it,
this soft body that consumes everything,
especially our failures
carrying something under its tongue
it is not going to show
to anyone.

Joseph Millar

Carnegie Mellon University Press

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