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Half an Hour

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Hurt, hurtful, snake-charmed,
struck white together half an hour we tear
through the half-dark after

some sweet core,
under, over gravity,
some white shore ...

spin, hidden one, spin,
trusted to me! laugh sore tooth
sucked warm, sweet; sweet wine

running cool through new
dry shrewd turnings of my soul,
opening veins.

Gull-feathers beating,
beating! Gliding. Still,
sidelong eye ... wings beating

like words against my eyes.
And your eyes—
o brother-animal, mild,

terrible!—your eyes wait, have been waiting,
knowing,
unknowable, on that sky shore.

A life is waiting.
Its webbed hand
reached out ...

Trust me!
truth-
telling fish of the sky!

your hand beyond my hand,
your phosphorous trail
broken, lost.


Jean Valentine, “Half an Hour” from Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003. Copyright © 2004 by Jean Valentine. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.
Source: Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965-2003 (Wesleyan University Press, 2004)
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Half an Hour

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