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POETRY I WON, YOU LOST / Philip Levine The last of day gathers in the yellow parlor and drifts like fine dust across the face of the gilt-framed mirror I often prayed to. An old man's room without him, a room I came back to again and again to steal cigarettes and loose change, to open cans of sardines, to break open crackers and share what he had. Something is missing. The cut glass ashtray is here and overflowing, the big bottle of homemade, the pack of English Ovals, the new red bicycle deck wrapped in celophane and gold edged, the dishes crusted with the last snack. The music is gone. The lilt of his worn voice broken with the weight of all those lost languages— "If you knew Solly like I knew Solly, oy oy oy what a girl." That music made new each day and absent forever from the corners of rooms like this one darkening with dusk. The music a boy would laugh at until it went out and days began and ended without the banging fist, without the old truths of blood and water, without the loud cries of I won, you lost, without song. The Missouri Review · 7 MY LIFE LIKE ANY OTHER / Philip Levine And the new sun broke on fields of grain as I walked home, tired and full, and touched with grace, smelling her smell rising from my own body pressed all night to hers. That dawn I entered heaven and understood it was a light falling on still fields, it was the first barn swallow over my head, it was within a white shirt stretched across this back which bowed for years to engine blocks, vats of acid, pans of broken parts, and then received its final shape from two hands that traced their needs in darkness. It had seemed such a long wait until that morning when the cool air swelled in my lungs pushing out my voice in the old joy-songs, and at last I knew there was nothing I wanted, nothing, except the life I'd entered. 8 ¦ The Missouri Review ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 5-8
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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