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About this poet

Terese Svoboda is a poet, fiction writer, and memoirist. Her poetry collections include When the Next Big War Blows Down the Valley: Selected and New Poems (Anhinga Press, 2015), All Aberration (University of Georgia Press, 2009), and Mere Mortals (University of Georgia Press, 2009). She is the recipient of the Cecil Hemley Award, the Emily Dickinson Prize, and the Iowa Poetry Prize, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She lives in New York City.

Body Mostly Flown

A De Chirico head aslant on a coverlet,
body mostly flown, the dazed prayers dumb.

The ritual cigarette, the ritual drink:
incense, holy water. No ambivalence, 

the woman inside fled, the whispers
I make of tenderness—hers—she sleeps through.

She's in that corridor, tunnel, the light is left on—
shut if off. But the nurse has to see the thermometer.

No ambivalence. No valence either, no speech.
My own heart stops, skids. No lingering regret or all,

sealed with stubbornness,
forgiveness a ness from a life

more fairytale, the hard breathing still, still.
A wing flaps and fear scurries out, 

a mouse with a crumb it meant to eat earlier.
De Chirico empties the patio.

Copyright © 2010 by Terese Svoboda. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2010 by Terese Svoboda. Used with permission of the author.

Terese Svoboda

Terese Svoboda is a poet, fiction writer, and memoirist. Her poetry collections include When the Next Big War Blows Down the Valley: Selected and New Poems (Anhinga Press, 2015), All Aberration (University of Georgia Press, 2009), and Mere Mortals (University of Georgia Press, 2009).

by this poet

poem
Dogs slink around her bed in hunger.
Lest you make sacred her image
on a brick, on your drive or thumb, 
she needs to be turned twice a day
plant-ish, in her deshabille. 

Lethargy has its roots in lethal.
This is the truth you must share
or die, the waves over your head,
the waving you're not doing.
Pride
poem
Walking backward from the sea,
scales shedding, you seek the cave. 

This is why the French door admits
only ocean. You stare into the louver

and forget how to get out. Lull
is the word, or loll. The sea returns,

completing your pulse, the waves live,
each breath of yours worship.
poem
Who loots the dew or enjoins
a shadow to guard a tree?

The bird in the pie can't pretend
to arms, its claws rock

the coin in the crust.
The train's single eye

examines the tree that the pie
holds the fruit of,

its engine rasps past the bird
as if smoke lent its shadow.

And the dew? Surely
it's a dark gulp