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On the Other Side of the Ocean

ISSUE:  Winter 1982

With age, the wise grow down,
they stop grooming themselves,
stop changing their clothes.

There is a village of them
on the other side of the ocean,
I left them there,
far away so I wouldn’t hear
their lamentations.

One is diminishing under the basket of potatoes
she carries on her head,
another curls over the barrow
wheeling her funeral outfit to the river,
and a man, wheezing, walks all around his horse
trying to put a harness on it.

Their stench is so strong
I could hate them for it
but I want the honey,
the wine, the crystal spring water
and the sweet smelling carrot
of wisdom
from their small, bone frames.

Look how their arms collapse
like a burning barn
as I leave them.


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