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La Petite Vie

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Love is the kindest
expression
of absence—

Or else
is a day
by the river,

in which by
motion
it becomes clear—

there have been
in an hour an
infinite train

of rivers, & which
did you want
to see? One

comes slowly
to realize
there is no evading things

(the heart will have
its way, though
its will go

unfulfilled),
& there is no shame
in this.

The pleasures in this world—
soft breeze, soft
thighs, a bit of music,

words that make
a good sound—
suggest when taken

whole that the
thing
the body longs for

is not & never has been
some petite mort,
a true thing

known to grass
& the elderly man
with a kind word

in greeting. And
the woman saying
that she is about

to come, as in
going to arrive
at last to fill

the body held so long
by stewards
in her name.

Source: Poetry (January 2009)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

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La Petite Vie

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