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from Deaf Republic: 15

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Motionless forgetful music of women and men
touching each forehead, breathing a soul into each immeasurable other,

on earth where we are, stranger, through madness unattainable
or grace, in difficult traffic reaching for each immeasurable other:

no one on earth (O bitterness, O desire,—who commands the ships?—
or, who—) touching the Lord’s shoulder, and breathing a soul, has measured

this motionless forgetful music of women and men. Thus
I (behind the eye what sleeps?) must from the blind borrow this light.

Notes:
These poems are from the unfinished manuscript Deaf Republic. This story of a pregnant woman and her husband living during an epidemic of deafness and civil unrest was found beneath the floorboards in a house in Eastern Europe. Several versions of the manuscript exist.—IK
Source: Poetry (May 2009)

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

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from Deaf Republic: 15

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