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28 THEMISSOURIREVIEW NATURE POEM: DEMANDING STIFF SENTENCES / James Tate We wanted something: a nude instance of gaga, a tern in a sunken hammock, anecdotes that end with angry pigeons, pinnocle won. Should think profound— profound was the wrong word. We won't get anything so don't expect anything, a babe in the mouth and knees sacked dandling the natal muse, the hysterical victim's bouquet in Springtime. But we wanted somthing more than a fire's embrace and a worker's trance. We wanted one wail that would benefit the whole adventure or a last nickle to call home and thank ma. Geography, now there's a short street— the buildings, the great outdoors (which remain just that) flirtatious as blood-donors— why, I don't know—who sleep by the fountain in the shade of the palm. They didn't know the first thing about fishing, which was their lifelong ambition. Rivers, like churches full of bawdy ballads, the keen sloth greeted by scrappy doves raving in the sky. And fish, the furniture of fish, talked back. Typos in a U-boat, we were all members of Nature's alphabet. But we wanted more. James Tate 29 RIVEN DOGGERIES / James Tate A miserable day, his dog had leapt from the window The dog had leapt from my seventh story apartment into a Police helicopter that had been hijacked by some well-meaning murderers. But it was for dogs they entertained no mercy. And that afternoon, late, after a cold shower I went for a ride in our elevator, an immaculate dive, home of the lost soul and once third base to late working things. My animal has sunk he doesn't exist he won't come back. The ideal pet, however, is unrecognizable when it arrives in the river awash in the land afar. ...


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