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Exciting the Canvas

That the moon causes tides
seems too witchy to be science.
The sea purging sheet iron,
jeans, a jewel-eyed
alabaster goat. Is that
why I'm here? Everyone
needs kudos, from newborns
to saviors. Nora, nearly three,
draws sunlight in golden bars,
not unlike an Impressionist painter.
I like to think of light this way,
dispensed in attaché cases
to illuminate as needed.
The famous poet said write
by the light of your wounds.

A drunk flies over his bicycle handlebars,
crumples by the side of the road.
Performed pain is still pain.
Some people born before the Model T
lived to see man walk on the moon.
To be strapped like that
to the masthead of history
would make me frantic.
At parties I'd shout
I'm frantic, and you? Like a fire,
hungry and resisting containment,
I'd pound at the windows, my
mouth full of hors d'oeuvres.
Outside—sweeping plains
of green flora and service stations.
Odd, for an apocalypse
to announce itself with such bounty.
I hear crickets chirp and think
of my weaker heart, the tiny one
sewn behind the one
that beats. It lives there
made entirely of watery pink light,
flapping at dawn like a baby's cheek.
It doesn't take much
to love a saint like me.
On a gravel road, the soft tissues
of my eye detect a snake curling
around a tree branch. Because I am here
each of these things has a name.

Kaveh Akbar

Calling a Wolf a Wolf
Alice James Books

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