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Published: Mon Oct 15 2001
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
Part of It

                                                          for Faraj Sarkohi                              

When I started home, a woman was lost
at the platform edge saying something
no-one could understand, and on the train
a middle-aged father was whispering

with his eyes across the aisle to his son.
There are certainly more words for god
than snow, and there are flags that flicker
in the slightest wind, but my own words

were lost then in the way you spoke
of the many confessions you had made,
made happily. Torture, you said, was
a doorway, and the hanging lasted only

until you blacked out. When you woke,
assuming that had been the end,
you felt sharp disappointment
the afterlife should look so familiar.

Today in this world, the warmest day
of the year so far, I look out and see
the maple leaves have unfolded
into yellow-greens that will for a while

feel as soft as the flesh of an infant,
and for a little while longer will
whisper as if they too assume all
they are saying is what we can hear.

See what's inside AGNI 54

Fred Marchant is the author of five poetry collections, including Said Not Said (Graywolf Press, 2017), The Looking House (Graywolf, 2009), and Tipping Point, his first book, which won the 1993 Washington Prize and was reissued in 2013 in a twentieth-anniversary edition. He is professor emeritus at Suffolk University in Boston, where he is founding director of the creative writing program and the Suffolk University Poetry Center. He is a contributing editor of AGNI. (updated 4/2022)

Marchant’s Tipping Point was reviewed in AGNI 42 by Jennifer Clarvoe.

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