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  • Immigration, and: Commerce, and: The World You Inhabit
  • Kevin Prufer (bio)


When the wheels came down over Miami,the stowaway in the landing gear,half-frozen and unconscious,slipped from the wheel wells into blue air.How amazed he must have beento wake to that falling sensationand the rapidly approaching sodium lampsof the airport parking lot.

The couple that owned the car his body crushedwas astonished at the twist of fatethat brought his life so forcefully into theirs.Their young son would always remember it,how just then the cold shadow of another airplanepassed over him, how the bits of jewel-like glasslay strewn across the asphaltlike the dead man’s thoughts. [End Page 411]


Something hit the office window hardso now there’s a smearthat won’t be washed awayuntil it rains.

Red and vaguelyheart shaped, it appearsto hover overthe city like someone’s idea

of love. Far belowthe morning grows moneyed and quiet,the last of ushaving emerged from our tunnels

and riddenthe long elevators up our buildings’throats. Even the birdsare at peace on our distant

trees and power lines.When the keyboards’ noiseresumes, I play throughthe scene again—

the silent towers,a crack against the bright glass,and a burst of blackfeathers. [End Page 412]

The World You Inhabit

Because they couldn’t leave him in the road,the boys propped the old man in the driver’s seatand pushed his car off the bridge.The headlights glowed milkily in the black lake,then, when they reached a certain depth, flickered out.The radio, too, stopped singing that happy song.All the way down to the lake’s bottom, the carcouldn’t believe the strange thing that was happening to it,how the old man would not roll up the window,would not turn the key, how water filled it completely.That night, while those boys spent his money on women in Tulsa,his astonished car rocked deep into silt and mud.The old man’s arms floated emptily at his sides,unsure of what to do with themselves,while high above him, in the world you continue to inhabit,raindrops decorated the lake’s surface. [End Page 413]

Kevin Prufer

kevin prufer’s books include National Anthem, In a Beautiful Country, and Churches. He is also coeditor, with Wayne Miller, of New European Poets and, with Martha Collins, of Into English: An Anthology of Multiple Translations, forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2016.



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pp. 411-413
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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