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For Emily Wilson

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Such a long time as the wave idling gathers
lofts and presses forward into the curvature
of the height before one realizes that the

tension completes itself with a fall through air,
disorganization the prelude to the meandering
of another gather and hurl, the necessary:

ah, what can one make to absorb the astonishment:
you should have seen me the merchant at market
this morning: the people ogled me with severe

goggles: maids, buying in manners and measures
beyond themselves, stared into my goods and
then grew horror-eyed: wives still as distant

from day as a carrot from dinner took the
misconnection sagely, a usual patience:
peashells, I said, long silky peashells: cobs,

I said, long cobs: husks and shucks, I said:
one concerned person pointed out that my whole
economy was wrong; yes, I said, but I have

nothing else to sell: and I said to her, won't
you appreciate the silky beds where seeds
have lain: she had not come to that: and

how about this residence all the grains have
left: won't you buy it and think about it:
not for dinner, she said: rinds, I cried,

rinds and peelings: there was some interest
in those, as for a marmalade, but no one willing,
finally, to do the preparations: absurd, one

woman shouted, and then I grew serious: can you
do with that: but she was off before we fully
met: you should have seen me the merchant at

market this morning: will bankruptcy make a
go of it: will the leavings be left only: the
wave turns over and does not rise again, that wave.

Source: Poetry (June 2008)

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

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For Emily Wilson

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