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  4. I Looked for Life and Did a Shadow See by James Galvin
I Looked for Life and Did a Shadow See

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Some little splinter
Of shadow purls
And weals down
The slewed stone
Chapel steps,
Slinks along
The riverrock wall
And disappears
Into the light.
Now ropy, riffled,
Now owlish, sere,
It smolders back
To sight beneath
A dwarfish, brindled tree
That chimes and sifts
And resurrects
In something’s sweet
And lethal breath.
This little shadow
Seems to know
(How can it know?
How can it not?)
Just when to flinch
Just where to loop and sag
And skitter down,
Just what to squirrel
And what to squander till
The light it lacks
Bleeds it back
And finds
My sleeping dark-haired girl —
O personal,
Impersonal,
Continual thrall —
And hammocks blue
In the hollows of her eyes.

James Galvin, “I Looked for Life and Did a Shadow See” from Resurrection Update: Collected Poems 1975-1997. Copyright © 1997 by James Galvin. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
Source: Resurrection Update (Copper Canyon Press, 1997)
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I Looked for Life and Did a Shadow See

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