Empire

By Mark Irwin Mark Irwin
He wore a little spiraled hat and wrote a song
that everyone sang. He lived on the mountainside
above a lake with a mythical beast he’d subdued.
A train circled the village each hour, over and over,
as he leaned down over the clock of   his world
where people were days becoming months and years.
In a park, from the hides of  ten cows, he’d constructed
a  giant ball that everyone touched until it became
a torn rag. He had no family, and because he worried
so much about them: What if, what if, what if, like another
beast pawing away, he’d invented a vitamin for everyone
old that allowed you to continue slowly to grow
until you forgot everything you once knew.

Source: Poetry (May 2008).

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2008
 Mark  Irwin

Biography

Mark Irwin is the author of six collections of poetry, two volumes of translation, and a recently completed book of essays on contemporary American poetry entitled “Monster.” His most recent book is American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987–2011). He lives in Colorado.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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