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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section 3: Absence

Joan Murray

Joan Murray
to be as quiet as air
to make itself nothing

to be as concentrated
as a star’s implosion

yet wired to strike
any hint of a motion

to have moved there from here
yet appear wholly motionless

innately aware of an instant ability
to remove itself from itself

and become a sudden skyward thing
with swift wide sweeping wings
Hah! I say to the moth,
look what you’ve got
for crawling into the nightlight
through the little slit on the top—
see what your lust has brought you.

Hah! says the moth to me,
have you not considered how I went—
with my soft belly pressed to what I loved—
you would be so lucky
to go like that,

and furthermore,
because you leave and go to bed and
shut your eyes, you do not see
how I glow like God himself
for eternity.
Joan Murray is the author of Swimming for the Ark: New & Selected Poems 1990-2015 (White Pine/Distinguished Poets Series), Looking for the Parade (W. W. Norton), Queen of the Mist (Beacon) and The Same Water (Wesleyan). Her poems have been in The Atlantic, Harper’s, The Nation, The Paris Review, Poetry, and Ploughshares, A two-time National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship winner, she is the editor of The Pushcart Book of Poetry.



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