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[In the Empire of Light]

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In the Empire of Light
the water’s completely dry

floating on a surface of itself
around islands pointed south-southwest

The wind fills it then
with more of itself

according to the rules
which cause parallel lines

to vibrate and cross
less and less

among the hanging baskets from a rain forest
among the visiting statesmen

from a rain forest
Here the dancer stops

to regain her balance
and reelaborate the distance

from the feet to the head
The risk is a part of the rhythm

She steps out of
and into balance

with those who are left
Chalk-marks show them where to stand

Michael Palmer, "[In the Empire of Light]" a part from The Book Against Understanding from The Lion Bridge: Selected Poems 1972-1995. Copyright © 1998 by Michael Palmer. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
Source: The Lion Bridge (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1998)
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[In the Empire of Light]

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