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Dawn

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1

Child waking up in a dark room
screaming I want my duck back, I want my duck back

in a language nobody understands in the least —

There is no duck.

But the dog, all upholstered in white plush —
the dog is right there in the crib next to him.

Years and years — that’s how much time passes.
All in a dream. But the duck —
no one knows what happened to that.

                                  2

They’ve  just met, now
they’re sleeping near an open window.

Partly to wake them, to assure them
that what they remember of  the night is correct,
now light needs to enter the room,

also to show them the context in which this occurred:
socks half  hidden under a dirty mat,
quilt decorated with green leaves —

the sunlight specifying
these but not other objects,
setting boundaries, sure of  itself, not arbitrary,

then lingering, describing
each thing in detail,
fastidious, like a composition in English,
even a little blood on the sheets —

                                  3

Afterward, they separate for the day.
Even later, at a desk, in the market,
the manager not satisfied with the figures he’s given,
the berries moldy under the topmost layer —

so that one withdraws from the world
even as one continues to take action in it —

You get home, that’s when you notice the mold.
Too late, in other words.

As though the sun blinded you for a moment.

Source: Poetry (February 2008)

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

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Dawn

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