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Autumn came before I realized.
               Sharpness flew up like gull-cries,
the swan turned upside down

in the water, pulling up grass,
               rolling its big hips upward,
which made me wonder

if words are necessary for pleasure, if
               without them, sparkles on the water
would be useless baubles.

I have so many of them, touching
               would feel like a wound without
them. When they lag behind,

where have they been? The nuns
               are sure that inside the glass case
is a piece of the cross. They’ve hung

that word around its neck.
               Over many years, wood and word
have caught up with each other.

Even the fierce knot of fibers
               might be glad to hear, before
it’s undone, the story it held together.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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