July 25, 2009KR OnlinePoetry

Continuing; Sightseeing


Dear Lord if this          is what I make

of my / Body why give me Lord a body if

It might have been          like all creation beautiful

Why give it Lord to me

that even now / Survives the fattening          and the disease

And even now I treasure why

Give me a body Lord          and love

In the body for the body love and love

Lord calls / Me from my body Lord          and love is no

release          / But more compacting more

Body O Lord if this is what I make

Of love          if this is how I break / My body

which even now I treasure

for / Continuing

if this is what I love          if this is how



We married on a sightseeing train the pas- / sengers each

spoke a different language none

Our language and        the farther the train traveled

From home the fewer of

each other’s words / We understood

through jungles and

through des- / erts and        through forests and through farmland from

Home through the fewer of        to none

we traveled        / From the station to the hotel at the lake

And from the wedding to the honeymoon / To bed

we traveled on the train to bed

Each with a different word for bed

and in / Our dreams saw things        we couldn’t when we woke / Describe

that might have been the same things our / Hands made the same

strange animals in the air

Photo of Shane McCrae
Shane McCrae’s most recent books are The Gilded Auction Block (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018) and In the Language of My Captor (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), which won the 2018 Anisfield-Wolf Prize for Poetry, was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the William Carlos Williams Award, and was nominated for the 2018 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. He has received a Lannan Literary Award, a Whiting Award, and a fellowship from the NEA. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.