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Empire

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He wore a little spiraled hat and wrote a song
that everyone sang. He lived on the mountainside
above a lake with a mythical beast he’d subdued.
A train circled the village each hour, over and over,
as he leaned down over the clock of   his world
where people were days becoming months and years.
In a park, from the hides of  ten cows, he’d constructed
a  giant ball that everyone touched until it became
a torn rag. He had no family, and because he worried
so much about them: What if, what if, what if, like another
beast pawing away, he’d invented a vitamin for everyone
old that allowed you to continue slowly to grow
until you forgot everything you once knew.

Source: Poetry (May 2008)

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

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Empire

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