By Steve Gehrke Steve Gehrke
For my daughter

If the body is primal, if the body is performed,
if the body is a city made of matches,
something the self burns as it retreats,

if death is a victory, if death is a cascade,
if death is the moment when the pianist rises
from the piano and the piano plays on,

if you are a theater, if you are the wandering
troupe, if you have checked, lost traveler,
into the softest of hotels, if you already existed,

in endless repetitions, like an echo which,
biopsied, grows to completion, like the flames
on a candelabra, not just born from a single

match, but wavering in the tip before it’s
struck, the whole hive singularized, a queen
subject to her ovaries, if the same horses

grazing in me are grazing in you, if the body
is a field written in hoofprints, the whole
ghostly herd passing through, then I’ll meet you

where the generations end, where the last gene
evaporates, my invisible, my twin...And
Fortinbras enters, followed closely by the wind.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2012
 Steve  Gehrke


Steve Gehrke has published three books, most recently Michelangelo’s Seizure (University of Illinois Press, 2007). He teaches at the University of Nevada, Reno.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Parenthood, Sorrow & Grieving, The Body, The Mind

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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