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The Shortest Night

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I went into the forest searching
for fire inside pleading wood,
but I can’t say for how long
I was moored between worlds.
I heard a magpie’s rumination,
but I don’t know if its wings
lifted the moon or let it drift
slow as a little straw boat
set ablaze on a winding river.
I learned the yellow-eyed wolf
is a dog & a man. A small boy
with a star pinned to his sleeve
was hiding among thorn bushes,
or it was how the restless dark
wounded the pale linden tree
outside a Warsaw apartment.
Night crawls under each stone
quick as a cry held in the throat.
All I remember is my left hand
was holding your right breast
when I forced my eyes shut.
Then I could hear something
in the room, magnanimous
but small, half outside & half
inside, no more than a song—
an insomniac’s one prophecy
pressed against the curtains,
forcing the ferns to bloom.


Source: Poetry (September 2010)

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This poem originally appeared in the September 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

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The Shortest Night

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