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The Loss


ISSUE:  Autumn 1981

The loss you can’t remember.
Crumbling walls, the mind’s stupor.
The haze at the horizon, the loss
indistinct, the stammered words
repeating themselves.
You can’t remember.

 

“A strange oblivion has overspread me,”
Samuel Johnson wrote. His sky lowered itself
into a squat.

The loss that is coin-sized, a sliver of light,
mock-gold tossed boldly in air
and then falling from the palm
to roll away—a gutter, a drain—
the loss you can’t remember.
The hurt, the stupor that swallows the hurt.

Did you think, cunning and slippery as an eel,
you would always be the thief—
and never the victim?
The loss you reach for,
pawing at your pocket.
The loss lowering itself upon you.
Stammering lips and words that repeat,
repeat.
You can’t remember.

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