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The River Is Stained With Blue Sky, But That Does Not Deny Stars

ISSUE:  Winter 1984

Sometimes I think of you as alone in a small room fitting
 together bits of ancient pottery.
You are as careful as if they were fragments of life,
shard notching into shard,
and I imagine you humming a meaningless white song.
It is emptier than the hum of telephone wires above a
 Vermont road,
though it is midnight in the song
and you have come out of the bright isolated house
to test the quality of moonlight on dry snow.
You step into one black diagram after another.
Of course! You made them hours and hours ago
 but now you reverse the design,
toe to heel, just to the point that oncoming prints turn
 downwind toward the town
where two—no three—flickering lights are afraid of the dark.
While you pause, going nowhere, the song begins to move
 above black branches like a sudden glaze of ice,
and I watch it break into a melody of branching light.
“Here!” it calls, “Here!” a scampering headstrong tune full
 of skips and shimmering leaps.
Or a shattering: billions of diamonds on snow.
It is always go forward, go down, or go back—
even in a small room, mending something that once held
 water, perhaps,
or new wine.


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