Accept the Gift A Letter to James Wright, Deceased

Like snow, the poem breaks into petals
and crystals, sharp things like stilettos.
It is just now April, or mid-May,
the shadows of flowers lie neglected
in the garden while cedar and fir hang
lovely in the long-gone frost of March.

 

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Why does it take some happiness
and a loneliness one can only cry for
to make these poems? I’m sorry you had
the gift. It makes for a miserable life.

How Ohio lived in you, your verse freed
and standing on its own, like a colt,
or an orphan removed from the nest
only to have its illusions shattered
in the world wide enough that you can’t
know yourself, or any part but Ohio,
and all things west, north, south, the distance
from home one calls a map of the earth.

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