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About this poet

Alan Shapiro is the author of Reel to Reel (University Of Chicago Press, 2014).

Just

Alan Shapiro
after the downpour, in the early evening,
late sunlight glinting off the raindrops sliding
down the broad backs of the redbud leaves
beside the porch, beyond the railing, each leaf
bending and springing back and bending again
beneath the dripping,
			between existences,
ecstatic, the souls grow mischievous, they break ranks,
swerve from the rigid V's of their migration,
their iron destinies, down to the leaves
they flutter in among, rising and settling,
bodiless, but pretending to have bodies,

their weightlessness more weightless for the ruse,
their freedom freer, their as-ifs nearly not,
until the night falls like an order and 
they rise on one vast wing that darkens down
the endless flyways into other bodies.

Nothing will make you less afraid.

From Old War by Alan Shapiro. Copyright © 2008 by Alan Shapiro. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.

From Old War by Alan Shapiro. Copyright © 2008 by Alan Shapiro. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.

Alan Shapiro

Alan Shapiro is the author of Reel to Reel (University Of Chicago Press, 2014).

by this poet

poem

From where I watch, there are no highest leaves,
no leaves that don’t have over them more leaves 
impeding what they open up and out for, 

darkening downward as they feed on green 
diminishments, as if dark, if it still
can darken, could be itself the light 

the
poem
It may not be
the ghostly ballet
of our avoidances
that they’ll remember,
nor the long sulks
of those last months,
nor the voices
chilly with all
the anger we
were careful mostly
not to show
in front of them,
nor anything
at all that made
our choice to live
apart seem to us
both not only
unavoidable
but good,
poem
What was it like before the doctor got there?

Till then, we were in the back seat of the warm
dark bubble of the old Buick. We were where 
we'd never not been, no matter where we were.

And when the doctor got there?

Everything outside was in a rage of wind and sleet, 
we were children, brothers