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The Creation of Protest

ISSUE:  Winter 1985
Stan Engelke (September 1965—May 1983)

It’s obvious that this objection occupies space.
Look at its lavender-blue petals, its rose-bordered
Ferns, the cut stems of its yellow blossoms filling
The altar, covering the bier.

And it’s evident that this resistance has shape.
It alters permanently the budding leaves
Of the late tallow that widen and surround the moment
Of its statement. And the sound of this sorrow
Stays in the center ear of every kestrel
And swallow and pipit who hears it, who must carry it
Over fallow meadow and rocky beach, binding it
Over the heavenly tundra all summer long.

This grief can surely be found as pure motion stopped
In the darkest tunnel of the bone, as the only still
Point of blood, the detectable disruption of the heart,
A violation of the harmony between breath and sky.

And this portion of earth is the place of anguish,
Fifty miles north of a muddy sea, two days of desert
From the bottom of mountains, eight minutes
Of moving light from the sun, 17 years
Beyond the beginning, four nights past the end.

Defined closely, it could easily be located
By anyone who cares enough, forever afterwards.
Notice now, notice now and bear witness
To the existence of this continuous protest
Of loss we create here today. It is all
That makes the eternal possible.


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