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Published: Wed Oct 15 1975
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
AGNI 4 AGNI 56 Relationships War Family
As You Might Claim Love

If by blinking, your eyes turn sharp
as they are bright, you see like a knife
can smell blood. Glitter: keeping watch
at the border, your fences are electric eels.
In the slightest wave of a hand from the woods
you hear a call to arms, feel the dog in you
leap to your throat as if you would growl,
fearing the disappearance of the hand
in the strange, black woods.
Your voice a spotlight, you encircle
the small gesture, “Who goes there?” This way it grows
from nothing to a trophy or a password.
Anyway, your own, as you might claim love.

In boot camp you learned nothing subtle
about time. Your heart under house arrest,
the flick of a wrist can turn the sun black
or raise the day to the ceiling
the way he lifts your son.
In your breast pocket is a manual
describing what you stand to lose,
whereas the dream is the uniform of the day.
As sentry you are so quickened.

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Carol Frost is the author of nine collections of poetry, most recently The Queen’s Desertion (Northwestern University Press, 2006). She has won three Pushcart Prizes and two fellowships from the NEA. (updated 6/2010)

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