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Poetry

Try preparing for a flood
of silence. A doctor says,
This will help

 the brain swelling.
A smiling brochure reads,
Practice becoming full

 of emptiness. There is a diagram
of the relevant anatomy.
It shows an umbrella of ribs
closing.

This is what it can feel like
when you talk to your loved ones,
the caption claims.

For the first time, a nurse looks
you in the eye.
She says, Time can be a side effect
of this medicine.

When you can no longer lift
your mind, someone guides you
through the many rooms of the hands.

You have followed
instructions, but on the other side
is a river’s edge and water
singing from the throats of rocks.


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

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