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Orion

James Longenbach
Stars rising like something said, something never
To be forgotten, shining forever--look

How still they are.

                Blind hunter crawling
Toward sunrise, then healed. 

He opened his eyes to find her waiting

--Afraid--and together they traveled
Lightly: requiring nothing

But a sense that the road beneath them stretched
Forever. At the edge

He entered the water, swam so far
That he became a speck: his body

Washed ashore, then raised to where we see it now--
The belt, the worn-out sword. I'm not

Afraid--

Except that there is nothing beneath us,
No ground without fear. The body vulnerable

--You can look at me--

The body still now, never
Changing, rising forever--stay--

Like something said.

From Fleet River by James Longenbach. Copyright © 2003 by James Longenbach. Reprinted by the University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved.

From Fleet River by James Longenbach. Copyright © 2003 by James Longenbach. Reprinted by the University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved.

James Longenbach

by this poet

poem
Often I walk the dog at night.
Once around the block, maybe twice,
And sometimes we head up to the reservoir.
If it's snowing, I put a little coat on the dog,
Booties if they've salted the street.

Everything you need is up there.
You can see for miles and you've got a lake,
Not large, the water black and still
poem
At the end of August, when all
The letters of the alphabet are waiting,
You drop a teabag in a cup.
The same few letters making many different words,
The same words meaning different things.

Often you've rearranged them on the surface of the fridge.
Without the surface
They're repulsed by one another.

Here are
poem
As an older man,
Graying, not stooped,
I saw the future:
Extremities

Cold, tongue
Sluggish,
Foam at the lips.
Excessive hope 

Seemed more
Indulgent
Than despair.
I ran great distances.
I stood in sunlight

Just to see my shadow,
Show it off.
For the first time I remember

My soul looked back.
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