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The Disappearances

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By Vijay Sephardi 



 "Where was it one first heard of the truth?" 
On a day like any other day,  like "yesterday or centuries before,"  in a town with the one remembered street,  shaded by the buckeye and the sycamore--  the street long and true as a theorem,  the day like yesterday or the day before,  the street you walked down centuries before--  the story the same as the others flooding in  from the cardinal points is  turning to take a good look at you.  Every creature, intelligent or not, has disappeared--  the humans, phosphorescent,  the duplicating pets, the guppies and spaniels,  the Woolworth's turtle that cost forty-nine cents  (with the soiled price tag half-peeled on its shell)--  but, from the look of things, it only just happened.  The wheels of the upside-down tricycle are spinning.  The swings are empty but swinging.  And the shadow is still there, and there  is the object that made it,  riding the proximate atmosphere,  oblong and illustrious ab…

Letter

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By Tadeusz Dąbrowski

Yesterday I sent you a letter. And today on the phoneyou tell me you are pregnant. I pack up and return,you greet me at the airport, you’re even lovelier thanin my letter that’s on its way to you. We builda house, our child grows, our parents shrink,then a few years of sweat and tears, in which we prudentlypickle cabbage and gherkins for the ever-colder days.In the coloring book of our life there are fewer and fewerblank spaces, the crayons grow shorter, we try to be precise,but even so we go over the lines. We busy ourselveswith everyday matters, and our paths are everdeeper, they start to look like tunnels. Meanwhilemy letter’s on its way to you. You’ll open it whenit suits you best.
(Translated, from the Polish, by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.)

Photograph from September 11

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BY WISŁAWA SZYMBORSKAThey jumped from the burning floors—one, two, a few more,higher, lower.The photograph halted them in life,and now keeps them  above the earth toward the earth.Each is still complete,with a particular faceand blood well hidden.

A Color of the Sky

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BY TONY HOAGLAND
Windy today and I feel less than brilliant,driving over the hills from work.There are the dark parts on the road                     when you pass through clumps of wood   and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean,   but that doesn’t make the road an allegory.
I should call Marie and apologizefor being so boring at dinner last night,but can I really promise not to be that way again?   And anyway, I’d rather watch the trees, tossing   in what certainly looks like sexual arousal.
Otherwise it’s spring, and everything looks frail;the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leavesare full of infant chlorophyll,   the very tint of inexperience.
Last summer’s song is making a comeback on the radio,   and on the highway overpass,the only metaphysical vandal in America has written   MEMORY LOVES TIMEin big black spraypaint letters,
which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.

Tell all the truth but tell it slant

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Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

Emily Dickinson
or:

A Supermarket in California

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for
I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache
self-conscious looking at the full moon.
        In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went
into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
        What peaches and what penumbras!  Whole families
shopping at night!  Aisles full of husbands!  Wives in the
avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what
were you doing down by the watermelons?

        I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber,
poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery
boys.