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Tarper’s Progress

ISSUE:  Summer 1970

“I’m nobody! Who are you?”
        —Emily Dickinson

“My mother lit me (father was her match)
And set me in a draught to catch my breath.

I faltered at first, wavering like a wraith
Right and left to recover life from pitch

Disorder. Darkness probed my tattered swatch
Of flesh for bright flaws an airy death

Might snarl too easily. Only Faith
Bade me tag along and keep watch

When nothing was left to latch to. Well, I waxed
In reverie, or when the wind flayed, tapered

To a shape to draw soft moths in… capered
So I almost capsized. I am my own pyre;

When I go out, I go entirely relaxed.
I never thought to set the world on fire.”


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