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The House Where Stevens Died

ISSUE:  Autumn 1981
If I could remember birth
like a kneecap popped
during genuflection,
then I might admit nothing returns,
that the grains of dust
I make by living
only clog someone else’s life.
Even at church, each word
a priest may say
dissipates like breath on glass
& there, breathing is just one thing
that quickens if we think
too long about it.
But when I think of Stevens,
how he anticipated
this sacerdotal boredom,
the smell of burned flesh
after the middle years,
I know sadness as a forgotten house,
one that’s been passed by
or never noticed.


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