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From “Mankindness”

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1

Because he, because she,
in so far as
she (in so far as he) exists

is on the way
to battle.

Not what is your name,
but what
the battle?




2

“Each one of us has come
here and changed” —

is the battle. Born
a loved one,
borne a loved one.




3

My father fought in this war, thus I can speak of it.
My mother fought in this, thus I can speak.
My friends, my lovers have fought, have worn
(like the tree) their several directions at once. And I,

in so far as I
               can say “I”

have fought to be related to these —
we strive and strain
but also try to ripen the entity
of the Other.





4

We kiss on lips, where the tenses attach.

We enter the conundrum
of another’s becoming.

We look for someone who can raise us
up again to feet, or near to standing.

We tend in our terrors to forget (we
do not store them) felicities.

I try each day to stay near beings,
mornings when I am most
mild. And may I nothing harm,
in case it is them.
Source: Poetry (July/August 2013)

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This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

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From “Mankindness”

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