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At the public pool

I could carry my father in my arms.

I was a small child.

He was a large, strong man.

Muscled, tan.

But he felt like a bearable memory in my arms.

The lion covers his tracks with his tail.

He goes to the terrible Euphrates and drinks.

He is snared there by a little shrub.

The hunter hears his cries, and hurries for his gun.

What of these public waters?

Come in, I said to my little son.

He stood at the edge, looking down.

It was a slowly rolling mirror.

A strange blue porcelain sheet.

A naked lake, transparent as a need.

The public life.

The Radio Songs.

Political Art.

The Hall of Stuff We Bought at the Mall. The plugged-up fountain at the center

of the Museum of Crap That Couldn’t Last

has flooded it all.

Come in, I said again. In here you can carry your mother in your arms.

I still see his beautiful belly forever.

The blond curls on his perfect head.

The whole Botticelli of it crawling on the surface

of the water. And

his sad, considerate expression.

No, he said.

from Space, In ChainsFind it in the library

Copyright © 2011 Laura Kasischke
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Laura Kasischke Poems

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