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The Tanker Never Moves

Flow—the guests take themselves in
And out of the utility room while
I dream them, flowing, always
Backward glancing, from the window
Who would leave open with such weather
Arriving with each of them? While

Guests, not people you would live
With, guests not people you would
Talk too much to, just How can you
Help me? these guests are already
Dead but you can’t tell as they back out
Of the back room with love

On their lips, but you can tell
If you look out that window
Where the tanker never moves
Yet tugs moan, moan again
In ecstasy, and the guests flow,
Looking for other rooms, utility

Being not useful to them really
Being dead already, and they move
Back to where they are allowed,
Into the cavities of your body while
You run in place because your legs
Don’t lift—the tanker never moves.

—Terese Svoboda

Terese Svoboda is the author of seven books of poetry, translation, and fiction, most recently Trailer Girl and Other Stories and Treason. She lives in New York City.

Originally published in the summer 2004 issue of Boston Review.



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