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So little is legible: glacial till, the moonlight on an iced-over ditch,
The moon itself—an opal pruning hook.

He could go on like this: list after list,
A compendium apropos of nothing more than to place the speaker here,

Pointing north, bewitched like a compass needle.
Hard to make much that resembles poetry out of the speaker’s depression

Because depression is mute, lethargic, leaden,
Articulate only as stalled-ness, stilled-ness.

After one solves the problem there is still the proof to slog through,
The showing of one’s work, the scratch paper, two sheets per test booklet, to be
accounted for.

“The speaker may as well be a ghost, a substance of shadow,
A sleet-heavy rag-heap on the road’s shoulder,”

The speaker says to himself (and, he guesses, to you) as an aside,
A breathy stage-whisper, all wink-and-a-nod.

He is the speaker, after all, and thus must speak.
A sucker for what Roland Barthes calls

“The illogical conjunction of the here and the formerly,”
The speaker reads only the pages in the comic book that begin “Meanwhile….”

Meanwhile, the speaker marks the phases of the moon on a bone,
Imagines the clutter before God created the maggot and the microbe.

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

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