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Published: Thu Oct 15 1992
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
The Secessions on Loan

I and these panels,
not larger than life but only partially
contained, as a landing site or the spindly
oxalis is only partially contained
in a woman’s left-hand body,
I and these panels
mount the stair, reaching
the city. We are one size.

The caffeine taken from your eyes
painted the airplane thus,
in that sky,
daub over daub.
If you must hope, then hope.
If you must die, die.
But don’t hope. Do not die.

A lot of corroded images
are just hanging there.
In the blackouts (every
night this week there have been storms
and power-outages, and we have had to travel
to other neighborhoods to read
or to eat or listen to music)
the dead may leave their message flashing.
We are one size.
A lot of corroded images
depict the too many orbits of one day,
a killing tree a cloud at the
center a green zero.

I will say this when she leaves
but to her left hand only:
do not die.
At the landing sites
everywhere on the plateau
we mourn the generals of our city.
They were oceans
in opposite directions.
As I and these panels
mounted the stairs this morning,
wrought-iron uncurved a spindly
oxalis where it became smoke
and rose still higher.
The afterlife gnawed at its small cage
and all the rooftops.

See what's inside AGNI 36

Donald Revell is a translator, critic, and the author of eleven collections of poetry, most recently The Bitter Withy (Alice James Books, 2009). Winner of the 2008 NEA Translation Award, the 2004 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and two-time winner of the PEN Center USA Award in Poetry, Revell has also received fellowships from the NEA, Ingram Merrill, and John Simon Guggenheim memorial foundations. He is currently poetry editor of the Colorado Review. (updated 7/2010)

Revell’s collection Beautiful Shirt was reviewed in AGNI 43 by Calvin Bedient.

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