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Prairie Schooner 80.3 (2006) 28-29

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Correspond, and: Imperial I, Royal We


After Rimbaudelaire
The night around us thickened
and the archipelago drifted like
amber and benzene. You will remember
the beauty of caresses. Oh, the ghastly

eyes of prison ships – and the crouching
faith of children. The night around us
thickened; at the top of the road
near the laurel grove

you, enfolded in gathered veils. Night
around us even as you fall
asleep in my arms the archipelago

drifting amber and benzene. The white
fog settled in the depressions of the
city. Those oaths, those perfumes of the night.

Imperial I, Royal We

Nothing is clean and shame
resides in the remnant
looking down from the helicopter –
upturned faces on the rooftop – [End Page 28]
waving you off? Or is it
'come back?'
    Off. Definitely.
There they go: starting to jump.
Is this too much?
    No, not at all.
I'd like a little more.
    Oh, you're
never satisfied. You'd eat your
other arm if you had any teeth left.

I saw it once in a shopwindow. It
wanted me immediately. Who was I
to say no? As I hesitated,
a whispered explanation hovered
at my ear. Much to my chagrin –
oh, pardon, this was your chagrin –
Just like me to take the last
chagrin. This must be your
Vietnam then as well. No? Oh –
Oh, I see, it's your Afghanistan. Well.
That's a relief, I thought it was mine.

Kevin Ducey won the Amercian Poetry Review's Honickman Award for his first book Rhinoceros.



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pp. 28-29
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