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A Poet at Twenty

 Images leap with him from branch to branch.
His eyes brighten, his head cocks, he pauses under a green bough, alert.
And when I see him I want to hide him somewhere.
The other wood is past the hill.
But he will enter it, and find the particular maple.
He will walk through the door of the maple, and his arms will pull out of their sockets, and the blood will bubble from his mouth, his ears, his penis, and his nostrils.
His body will rot.
His body will dry in ropey tatters.
Maybe he will grow his body again, three years later.
Maybe he won't.
There is nothing to do, to keep this from happening.
It occurs to me that the greatest gentleness would put a bullet into his bright eye.
And when I look in his eye, it is not his eye that I see.

Poem by Donald Hall
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Book: Shattered Sighs