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Second Draft

James Longenbach
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.
What other people learn
From birth,
Betrayal,
I learned late.

My soul perched
On an olive branch
Combing itself,
Waving its plumes. I said

Being mortal,
I aspire to 
Mortal things.

I need you,
Said my soul,
If you’re telling the truth.

From Draft of a Letter, Copyright © 2007 by James Longenbach. Reprinted by permission of University of Chicago Press.

From Draft of a Letter, Copyright © 2007 by James Longenbach. Reprinted by permission of University of Chicago Press.

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
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