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John Swain

 

Preparation of the Ashes

 

Scythes parted the trees before the world opened

and we received clairvoyance from silver vapors,

the bright day colored your face like a cured leaf.

Sun burned a hawk shadow on the dry watershed,

tomorrow morning I will have to dig another well

as breezes twist our scented washings on the line.

Men found enchantment around your linen dress,

so I explained to them your night before the caliph,

only our angel was stoned by the people in town.

With water from a basin you dampened strips of cloth

as I lit lamps like a watcher measuring our distance,

the scars of this undress astounded me with beauty.

We clamor in the kinship of bronzed leaved arms

reminiscent of the wafer and the camphor bewitched,

I wished you would have placed upon my tongue.

 

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White Cloth

 

I purchased white cloth

to lay across the rain

like the tomb of a queen.

Released from the sky,

we delight

in immaterial textures

borne by our gated mind.

Water became our veil

to touch contemplation

like pears at your lips.

 

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