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Gin

The linkages (bare-wired) gone watt & red hot,
sun-stamped earth, wait for me my seamstress
of the double hemisphere, ruby-clawed hopeful bird.
Berry-ginner of the lower Guadalupe, when in flight
you danced my twin dreams of you: cross-current dandelion
freed of concentration / unbidden wind-driven dart.
Wick-feathered foundling dropped-down smoothed-over
thing, light chasing from your movement, announcing
your arrival in broad colors. The stars reconciled & remitted:
there should have been no world not blue for you, warmed
about your dew-dipped belly, my caramel & yellow dappled
Pekinese of the Pouty Lip, but beakwise—the whole
stage gone sour beneath: the proliferation of garbage piles,
the railway intercoastal and toxic sludge puddles. If I
found the right words (redressed?) I could keep you
safe in language, syllable bound & yes, language a trap
in itself, validation through speculation, not much braver
than silence, but hopeful. Man’s unmatched missions of mutability
unwound your wristwatch, warbler, left pocket-fobbed
& forgotten. It’s hard to convince the living the value of
the near-dead not dying when death confirms their living;
no chain of being but a coat which fits us all just once.
The linkages burn & burn—a white needle thinning
through thinning fabric like a javelin unraveling air.
The great coat tightens like a lozenge in the throat.   


—Joe Millar

Joe Millar is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a recent finalist for the Yale Younger Poets Prize. He lives in Iowa City.

Originally published in the Summer 2003 issue of Boston Review



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