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I grew into a stuffed animal who wanted

only to insert himself into the fossil record,

to test the mettle of a closeted end

of starless January. [You hurtle forward, you grab

someone’s waist: it’s as all scouts

know.] I was loosed in dormant sumac;

this much someone, someone else retained. When

it burns you move away

is good enough advice. [Move

advice that burns, burn off

perception of selflessness, get the regard

of a thing: deer ending

afternoon against the snow

holding on to trees, crepuscular trees,

with an almost yellow whatsit overhead.]

Here all can be reduced

to twigs lashing cheeks

as the snowmobile crests another white hill.

Let dim and distraction weave into

our scarves, shrink

our boots till we put a hood

to ice at the edge of the stream,

then drink what’s seeping up

and hope it’s clear.

from The Dance of No Hard FeelingsFind it in the library

Copyright © 2009 Mark Bibbins
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Mark Bibbins Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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