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Published: Thu Jul 1 2004
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
Last Words

The night sky’s a black stretch limo, boss in the back
behind tinted glass. You could say that.

Down here’s a dungeon, up there’s the glittering
ring of keys in the sentry’s fist. The self

exists. Beauty too. But they’re elsewhere.
You could say that. Or not speak till commanded to.

Dawn, alone on the porch, I watch
the one map unfold and flatten before me—

same toppled TV antenna in the berry vines,
same cardinal, bright wound in the pasture grass.

My wound is my business. I’ve wearied of it.
From now on, morning will be attended

by its own noises only, evening will approach
without palms in its path. Let the horses

steam in the field, the sun-struck
river blanch. I’m boarding the troop train.

Chris Forhan is the author of three books of poetry: Black Leapt In (Barrow Street, 2009); The Actual Moon, The Actual Stars (Northeastern, 2003); and Forgive Us Our Happiness (University Press of New England, 1999). He has won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes, and his work appears in The Best American Poetry 2008. He lives with his wife, the poet Alessandra Lynch, in Indianapolis, where he teaches at Butler University. (updated 6/2009)

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