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Maureen Alsop


I named your voice as my voice
a haze travels me.
I close my eyes. You keep moving                   through dream,
resolutely, a rift threaded                   deep from shock.

Soon there is distance in love. Soon, you, who have always been proud reach me,
acknowledged by endearment's offering. You meet me as continuance:

your mind begins upon the stairs, a shadow's arc
in this unnatural heat, the gleam of your shoes in the window, some evidence of
the other dark which quivers in the flag's paused reflection.

In the small yard we gather pieces of soil to cover your body. Lightly I press my fingertips
to earth. Stamp of arrangement,             snow's hindrance
among crocus buds. A shapely whiteness, pale sleeves,
the front shadows, constellations

cross an emptying shoreline, death's disordered border.

Without stillness—beyond street lamp's angles of leaves. I stand

at the wardrobe touching your dresses where
language is air in a dreamless lens. Earrings: a clover field, now
sky a crook in the drape of multitudes.

Methodical Error

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Love never came. Early, ambled foreigner, you led me.

In the moonlit ward brittle accounts piled—
iron fillings and paper straw wrappers under sardine-can window. Still

I listen for planetary hush of trees in your shadow. Where
the turnpike swelled with argument. I abandoned patriotism.

Croquis for the Etruscan

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O improbable green, my origin—consider
language as light's infrequency. Gray emulsion
of winter over silver rivers and tombs—What

indefinite articulate, the sun's assiduous shape, tends
the horizon's glaze. When I returned home,
the skeletal silence, my gratitude, was a blue ash
touched to the forehead. You

carried buckets of oat. And wordless, let water
anoint the flank of a horse that led you
through cypress groves' narrow secrets. You followed
the bells of a mixed space, toward gate & straw
into a vastness beyond sound. Among the travelled
you are the long travelled.   The suddenness

love chose in particulate, a constant I held
as earth claimed my smallness.


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After the night-sun's pink geography fades

the orchard's quandary of blossoms shone again

and against the broad sky—blue echo & dust. You always

submitted to imagination's
impossible lesson. Another Sunday at my desk,

your fragmentary shadow gleams.

No one came for you.

Etchings of funeral horses
extract in tiny bursts—
marigold flames.

And among the dead you are the long dead.

Wasn't it fire's superstition that
acquired your penitence? Bird sound
reduced to archetype—

                    Capture within capture. I never heard the voices
of the holy—and I am not enough to give as you gave

but I am still here       where
light's frequency became the body's innocuous heat, the passing
praise of sunlight. An illusion of stars,
a cell phone's incandesce, another inconsequent fragment
reading snow as end line.

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