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Mind ? Body

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How do they survive, riven   
as they are, the one undoing   
the other's desire?   

Tell the body to outrun   
the mind, and the mind smirks,   
whispering too loudly
this way   this way,   
blocking all the exits.   

And the body, luxurious   
sensualist by pool side or in bed,   
doesn't it hear the mind's   
impatient machinery ticking
it's time   it's time?

And only in our mind's eye,   
as we're fond of saying,   
someone else's body leaping nimbly   
in jetés of thought, or revealing   
to us Act V, scene iii   
in one gestural flourish,   
body and mind beautifully   
synchronous.   

Oh, the mind is eely, slipping   
out of its puzzle boxes,   
loving its own wit.   

And the earnest body: speak of it   
with the least irony, and already   
you've begun to unnerve it.   

Better to let them have their way,   
forgetting about them both   
until they meet again sometime   
as if for the first time   
in library or steam room   
ready to shake hello

or lead you to whatever door there is   
and always the two sets of stairs.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2000 issue of Poetry magazine

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Mind ? Body

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