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Because the painting of the beach told the oil rig
We can’t have you in this portrait, the oil rig slumped
its shoulders and erased itself from the scene.

When the hummingbirds arrived to the saltwater
roses, the poet said, This is a blessing. A blessing
so close you can hear the heartbeat of its wings.

When what you should fear arrives at your table
to eat your grapes, drink your expensive wine—
say, Have a seat. There’s room for you here.

At what point does champagne make you magical?
The couple attached strings to rocks at their wedding—
a metaphor for what holds us down, a metaphor

to stay grounded. Because the bride thought she was
a madrona, she felt she was growing—her arms touching
both sides of the sky. How do we know what birdsong

to listen to when we’re not sure if we should waltz?
Imagine kindness walking into the city, drunk
and in love, shouting at the people who point

at heaven, who point at the feathered
angels we call missing species:
Nothing will die when we’re together.



Kelli Russell Agodon’s newest book is Dialogues with Rising Tides (Copper Canyon). She is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press and teaches at Pacific Lutheran University’s low-res MFA program and the Rainier Writing Workshop.




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