Little Box of Cotton & Lightning

by Marni Ludwig

selected by Susan Howe


How beautiful we are in the afternoon of hands.
We trade our shadows for days
of suddenness. A bird got in my blood,
a tricky one, with a split tongue.
Now it doesn't get dark
because you shut your mouth.
There's too much water here.
I wish you were dead
or near. My paper slippers
glide down the shining hall
where my friends on the walls hang
their names. The shift clock blinks.
I don't think I'll get better. Outside
itinerant clouds nod and the lilies
twist in their beds.

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