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I Can’t Swim

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I can’t swim because I can’t fit
into the water

                         I am
two million feet tall

but thank you for inviting me

I am standing in line
inside my giant shirt

If someone wanted to weaponize me
they would tell me to lie down on New York

and the city I destroyed
would hurt me back

I eat stars
                        It’s a riot

I know
                        my big mouth
full of  their light

Source: Poetry (October 2013)

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This poem originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

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I Can’t Swim

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  • Heather Christle was born in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, and earned a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of The Difficult Farm (2009); The Trees The Trees (2011), which won the Believer Poetry Award; and What Is Amazing (2012). Christle described her third collection in an interview: “What Is Amazing begins somewhat exuberantly, moves through domesticity and desire, and ends up with something like acceptance of the world as it is. It is occasionally very funny.”
     
    A former creative writing fellow in poetry at Emory University, Christle has taught at Emory, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Sarah Lawrence. She is the Web editor of jubilat magazine and a frequent writer-in-residence at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute.

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