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Air Envelope
by Catherine Wagner
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The Present Writer

by Conor O'Callaghan

answers questions vaguely, as if from distance,
cares less for the dribs and drabs of his libido;
gets more droll, lachrymose, implicit with age;

has backed from the room, the turntable moving
and a refill pad lying open at the page
with 'swansong' and 'glockenspiel' written on it;

makes collect calls from payphones, lost for words;
has been known to sleep in the rear seat
on the hard shoulder, the hazards ticking;

is given to sudden floods of hope; still dreams
of swimming pools, in sepia; can take or leave
a life in shadow; will whoop out of the blue

and surface on the landing, fork and spoon in hand,
adrift of what the done thing was; doodles butterflies
on the envelopes of unread letters; travels happiest

towards daylight and fancies pigeons; gets a kick
inhabiting the third person, as if talking across himself
or forever clapping his own exits from the wings.

From Fiction, copyright © 2006 by Coner O'Callaghan. Reprinted by permission of Wake Forest University Press.
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