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Published: Fri Oct 15 1982
Art by Jin Suk
Omaggio A Pavese

Death will come and it will have your eyes
From morning to morning, sleepless,
_                                                                  _ an old remorse.
Your eyes will be vain words, a silence
You’ll see as you lean out to the mirror
Each day,
_                  _the one look that it has for everyone.

It will be like ooze from the sea,
Like stopping a vice
_                        _ and the sin. It will be like stopping the sin.
It will be the dead face in the mirror
Listening to shut lips.
It will descend silently,
_                                          _speechlessly into whirlpools.

Death will come and it will have your eyes,
Ridiculous vice
_                          _ and the same look.
You are the great weariness.
You are scorched and burned back by the sea.
You say nothing,
_                              _and nobody speaks to you.

This is a balance sheet and the names don’t matter.
One nail on top of another,
_                                                _ four nails make a cross.
Nothing can add to the past—
Woman is as woman does,
_                                               _and night is always the night.
With its black heart and its black hands it lays me down.

See what's inside AGNI 17

Charles Wright has published over twenty-five books of poetry, criticism, and translations. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for Black Zodiac (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998), the National Book Award for Country Music (Wesleyan, 1983), and many other awards. (updated 6/2010)

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