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Sylt II

The wind that makes your hair grow faster

opens a child’s mouth full of strawberry and sand.

Slow and sure

on the scales of the ocean

the child’s head outweighs the sun.

Inside the wind –

a blister of a church,

its walls thicker than the room from wall to wall

where the wind shifts shade and light

as if they were two rival chess pieces

or two unmatched pieces of furniture.

Inside the church – such a stillness;

a feather which floats clenched in a fist of dust

becomes a rock by the time it hits the ground.

Organ pipes glint like a cold radiator

caged in a case carved as a tree, its branches

tied up with a snake.

Organ pedals, golden and plump, are the tree’s only fruit.

It is all about the release of weight.

The player crushes the pedals like grapes underneath his feet.

My body, like an inaccurate cashier, adds your weight to itself.

Your name, called into the wind,

slows the wind down.

When a body is ripe, it falls and rots from the softest spot.

Only when a child slips and drops off a tree,

the tree suddenly learns that it is barren.

from Collected BodyFind it in the library

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

Published in Poems Valzhyna Mort

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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