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Wendy Battin

On a Line by Su Tung-p'o

Only now that we've come and come to rest,
now that we've hinged apart like wings,
back-stroked on the bed and sinking--

boatmen and waterbirds
dream the same dream
: the dream of not flying.
No one else dreams it.

Another Line from Su Tung-p'o
"Only the twilight crow knows how I feel."

Only a fluke of sight,
the astigmatic
twilight makes a
crow shimmer. Who
knows black feathers knows
how no-light finds its prism.
I was not light this morning, now I
feel I scatter.

A Contract

Breach,
as surface is breached by whale,
benthic and aerial--
the great weight of water
a whale encloses.
When she breaches she levers it into
the air.
Air fans the water it's dealt,
dispersal its grace
and modesty,
that picks up only what it can wear
to tatters--you will remember me,
explicit as pearl-seed or splinter. Break it,
you cannot. The drops arc up
and out in grace, where one drop follows
another, irrevocably.
Whale crosses the border amid great boiling,

not the way the air is breached
by meteor, by satellite,
where at the edges all is fire.
Stones hit air as stones hit lake--
if skillfully angled they skip,
but all are finally swallowed,
trailing their turbulence.

Aubade: How Truth Will Out

A slip of the tongue, say
into your mouth, a slip of the finger
when I type

The angel of incidence
is equal to
to the angel of reflection
. Angel, you fall

on me like light, that I might read the world by you
and love what I read there: accident, incident,
mirror with the sunrise in it.

 

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