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Poetry

The animal in us wants to leap
up, leap out maybe,

like the dog on its chain trying to bound
higher and farther than the chain allows

because the two boys in their kiddie pool
are bounding, scooping up water in their hands

and tossing it and jumping, as the woman beside the house
on a bench is reading, not paying attention

to any of them.
How much life can a body contain?

The dog wants to follow its small joy
though the chain holds him back. He moves toward it,

a private experience, witnessed,
if to be “witnessed” means paid attention to,

by no one. It reminds me of Mary’s mother
in Giotto’s Vision of Anna: inside

the room an angel addresses her.
Outside, a woman sits on a bench in silence

having no idea of the world
Anna’s revelation upholds. The angel

has broken through without breaking
a thing; Giotto depicts him as half an angel

gesturing to her surprise. Does the mind
break through the wall like a blade

or the body? There’s an angel
on the other side that somebody doesn’t

notice. There’s a movement
at the end of its chain that the woman

will not heed. There’s a God up there
some would say—

The woman’s eyes
find words in her novel, bound to exist

in the place she is making, in spite
of the bodies’ gestures coming

as close as they can to bursting,
a world and the words

pulling back.


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