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Portrait in the Form of Ephemera

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Three items in an envelope. A photograph of two, four, six, eight, nine boys boarding a bus. Not boys, men. Dressed in the long wool coat of winter. Something “based on the life of.” What can a moment outlast? That question becomes a theory, theorem, mechanism. Three boys, one girl, a tree brushing back air off her forehead. Paper, six clean sheets, a monogrammed envelope. An index. The physical bias to existence becomes some wedge, the inexact value of an empire of ether. Tick-tick. The amphibian emerges from water, walks off stage. It’s as if evolution is embodied in absence. Someone is lying on her back. She turns over. Her breath is in the air. Or in the idea of atmosphere.
Source: Poetry (June 2016)

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of Poetry magazine

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Portrait in the Form of Ephemera

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