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It’s true: In pleats of land I find your face,
your tears in the way water traces
gentle blue trails between cities.

When I touch the muscular curve
of a fish drawn fresh from the deep,
shaded center of a river, I learn its name:

Smallest Silver Trout, Left-Handed
Salmon, Bluegill Given over to Air—
and remember you with each syllable.

Think of it: what happens as strong hands
hook us from the womb, as our new and naked
limbs flip shining into air?

Forgive my intimacy with dirt, my temptation
toward borders, toward those few yet-anonymous
swells rimming an island’s far coast.

Please recall when I kiss you, when I am not
there to kiss you: We inhabit our own small
and separate countries, customs and tongues

overlapping. Know that I want to bring you
salt. Sand. Hills wrapped with clouds. A sky
of animals. This travel. Trespass. Devotion.

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

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