Summer 2001 • Vol. XXIII No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 2001 |

Mourning Engagement Ring

Airbrush out his cigarette like an old black pot put upside down in a field—   he was barley, the heaviest grain that grows, a bead on the larger world from my own intimate district,   a brother or a sister creature of its ploughing edge.   How I have thrown a year away, smiling a look at stars in their dullest form,   and come back with nothing, not even a birthname, though I took his name strongly,   I overrejoiced in the achievement of that touch, the toned senses of the controlled body.   It is a common word, my very body, my very mouth,   the same word for what is missing or the small pieces of the field which the plough has not touched.   I was so relieved to hear those twelve strokes tightening at pleasure,   the volume of conversation in the restaurant,   I moved like string in a hem the stiff dark clay prevailing in my hollows,   sown only on the chance of rain with the dead that have become the fallen, lik

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