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Papyrus

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Acorn-brown, the girl's new nipples
draw the young men's rooster eyes
where a woman is fitting a man to her mouth,   
breathing fire, holding for dear life.

Green almonds in their shells:
she knifes them open one at a time and   
hands him a slick teardrop, cool white   
tasting cool white. Nothing

compares with such austerities, although   
the skull's honeycomb of bone
will break their hearts, who need hearts   
like a bird's wishbone, to bend, unbend

at every feathery beat—wishbone hearts,
or something fleet and light as an ostrich's   
leg-bone, bearing him to where, panicked   
with grief, he can bury his head in sand.

Papyrus light: a scarf with black parrots on it   
lifts in the breeze, and a real rare bird
is about to fly—his head in the clouds, his life   
shrouded in daylight he keeps breaking.


Eamon Grennan, “Papyrus” from Relations: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1998 by Eamon Grennan. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.
Source: Relations: New & Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 1998)
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Papyrus

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