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FURTHER READING
Poems by James Longenbach
Lake on the Hill
Mist Valley
Orion
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Second Draft

 
by 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.
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