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Scene

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The cinema is a specific language.
           — Christian Metz

What the body might guess,
what the hand requests,
what language assumes
becomes amulet,
which is to say
I am carrying your face
in a locket in a box
to a virtual location
guarded by kestrels,
suggesting the scene’s
geography of love and dirt,
trees ripe with darkness
and bones’ white luster.
In the moonlit blue house,
where snow won’t fall
unless called upon,
grace enters as requested,
lands next to you, grasped,
as if love were a reflex
simple as weather.

Source: Poetry (January 2014)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

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Scene

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  • Born and raised in Chicago, Maxine Chernoff earned a BA and an MA from the University of Illinois. Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Poetry in 2006, Chernoff, in an innovative, post-modern approach, often utilizes prose forms. Her collections of poetry include A Vegetable Emergency (1977); Utopia TV Store: prose poems (1979); New Faces of 1952 (1985), winner of the Carl Sandburg Award; Leap Year Day: New and Selected Poems (1990); and World: Poems 1991–2001 (2001).
    Chernoff’s poems can be surreal, witty, and politically engaged. In a review of World for Jacket Magazine, Rachel Loden found that “wit cuts in and out of the melodic surge and flow” of the volume. Chernoff references Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz and employs epigraphs from Ralph Waldo Emerson in one section, prompting Loden to note “the impressionistic structures of these poems, their hops and skips across a rippling surface that suggests...

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