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  4. [As if by saying “morning” on January 8th] by Michael Palmer
[As if by saying “morning” on January 8th]

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As if by saying “morning” on January 8th
the light would be set forward
along the megalophonous shore

Was there anything else you wanted to know
about the body where I belong
how the torso is cut off from a waving arm

by the yellow space in the background
and how the head has been put on wrong
or not wrong. Each looked into the water

and was frightened by a different thing
of his or her own making
One was frightened by stripes

and the other by a turtle
even though I knew it wouldn’t bite
but would take me for a ride

It was the time when the phone always rings
to dissolve the mediating scene
in which a phone always rings

to help us with our counting
I say hello to the lateral darkness
who answers guardedly

in painted fragments. The drop of a hat
If the shoe fits. A thin bird flaps
before it sits. Who answers noiselessly

Hans Memling is watching from my matchbox
where the serpent lives
This is his nest

Michael Palmer, "[As if by saying 'morning' on January 8th]" a part from The Book Against Understanding from The Lion Bridge: Selected Poems 1972-1995. Copyright © 1998 by Michael Palmer. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
Source: The Lion Bridge (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1998)
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[As if by saying “morning” on January 8th]

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