Fall 2009 • Vol. XXXI No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 2009 |

The Marriage at Grand Isle

Sometimes in each other's arms they come to absolute loneliness— a clock strikes, rain tapers off, the pupil of the eye blazes like a keyhole, they are naked like breath in a mirror, naked as the word "marriage," then they roll apart listening for the raspy voice that says "if you really loved me" and the last few cars dwindling: they live in the capital of spindled leaves, between Harpswell and Grand Isle, that you can only reach the way darkness settles over the bay, by becoming another person and having second thoughts . . . They are wife and husband, one flesh more intractable and wary than the bodies they were born to. They are made of atoms which cannot die, between each nucleus there is an emptiness bigger than Orion, and the cat rubs against the foot of the bed, purring, growling, when she is given milk she mews for something blanker, shinier, salty against the roughness of the tongue. Let the cat sleep so the mind can sleep— then the lovers

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D. Nurkse is the author of ten collections of poetry, most recently A Night in Brooklyn (Knopf, 2012).

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The Present

By D. Nurkse

Sometimes in each other's arms they come to absolute loneliness— a clock strikes, rain tapers off, the pupil of the eye blazes like a keyhole, they are naked like breath […]

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