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ISSUE:  Winter 2007

I was the one dead inside the music—
my voice forever in the cave of it,
shaping the quick clay

of syllables into songs of praise.
I was the one dead inside the praise
that praised you, “singing your praises.”

I was the one dead inside the singing,
the one dead inside the song
I pulled away from you to sing,

withdrawn inside it, hiding inside it,
inside it touching you and being touched
inside and out, and knowing it all

only as melody in which
nothing exists beyond the wish
that if I couldn’t love you better

I could at least keep singing
as if I could. And all for what?
That last infirmity?

my voice forever scattering
away in echoes other voices
I will never hear might sound?

What good will it do me then?
That ancient story, love,
you know how wrong it is,

how backward, for it was you
who sought me out among the singing shades,
who turned back, and kept turning

daily, nightly, and I who vanished,
turning away from you
to listen to them sing

about how beautiful you are,
how stupid one would have to be
to turn away from beauty such as yours.

What wouldn’t I give to touch your body now?
That’s what the dead are singing.
That’s what they’ve always sung.

All the dead know how to do is sing.


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