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To the Reader: If You Asked Me

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I want you with me, and yet you are the end
of my privacy. Do you see how these rooms
have become public? How we glance to see if—
who? Who did you imagine?
Surely we’re not here alone, you and I.

I’ve been wandering
where the cold tracks of language
collapse into cinders, unburnable trash.
Beyond that, all I can see is the remote cold
of meteors before their avalanches of farewell.

If you asked me what words
a voice like this one says in parting,
I’d say, I’m sweeping an empty factory
toward which I feel neither hostility nor nostalgia.
I’m just a broom, sweeping.

“To the Reader: If You Asked Me” by Chase Twichell from The Snow Watcher published by Ontario Review Press. © 1998 by Chase Twichell. Used by permission of Chase Twichell.
Source: The Snow Watcher (Ontario Review Press, 1998)
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To the Reader: If You Asked Me

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