Sep/Oct 2018 • Vol. XL No. 5 Poetry |

Vow of Extinction

From this day forward all plants except the lemon tree will be banished from my poems From this day forward I am wedded to the sky All clouds shall be banished and my memory of them vanish like memory itself Not even a lime shall sneak in Animals shall exit my poems including those that cross the sky in herds or as stragglers Without plants, without animals people cannot survive in my poems so they too shall be sent, those with shoes and those without in a long line leaving Leaving myself under the lemon tree wedded to the sky that is light then dark then light Candles are forbidden I will feel the terrible weight of twilight as it falls over the land like a despondent minx, words I might formerly have used for a squirrel From this cretinous proposition I shall write my poems and try to reach those who no longer exist They are not in this poem or any other From this day forward I eat lemons in my park Their complete similarity to me can now

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Mary Ruefle is the author of the forthcoming book Trances of the Blast (Wave Books, 2013), Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures (Wave Books, 2012), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has published ten books of poetry, a book of prose (The Most of It, Wave Books, 2008), and a comic book, Go Home and Go to Bed!, (Pilot Books/Orange Table Comics, 2007).

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