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ISSUE:  Winter 1999

It’s more than a year’s turning.
We have woken the creatures of stone
scrabbling over our roofs and spires.
Our joints stiffen under another year’s silt,
spilled oil, exhaust.

In church, our tilted faces
shift in and out of the colored light,
when hymnals are thumbed, when we search
our laps in prayer. I feel magnified
under the sun’s heavy gaze.

A man falling backwards from a window
will be sucked deep in the earth
where the dead gnaw out a winding path.
They have the glow
of the plant pulled up from below, roots pale,
spidery in the chill air.

The distance from window’s frame
to earth is millennial,
the way a phonograph’s needle follows
its cyclic path long after the music’s end.
I reach, then pull back, leave it spinning,
let it dig its own way out.


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