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From a Vacant House

It is hard to want a thing you know will hurt another,
yet the heart persists, doesn't it, with its dark urges, liquid wish?

A sea town. Gulls, those malefica, uselessly scissor
thin-boned bodies against a beach washed of its will,

where a season ago women lay, dogs and children fastened
to the long arms of their concern, the men vacant and glittery

with spandex and oil. It is November, and already books thicken
at my bedside, a crush of paper characters awaiting the eye's

hurried pass, their unread stories attendant through the night,
until its bandage lifts to a morning blush, and I am held

within the parenthesis of a spare white house, a little thinner,
empty hands chilled like the faithful, offering myself to discipline's

cool machinery. I will stand on the pier, gesturing and cold.
I will open my mouth to your opening mouth.

--Mark Wunderlich

Originally published in the October/November 1998 issue of Boston Review

 



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