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John James

Awareness of Time



When it pounds the shoulders of a working man

the sun becomes extravagant. White appears as absence

only to the naked eye. First there is love, then time.


Last dance of a body allowing me air, arrogant

as a king snake writhing in the grass. It leans in the wind,

small leaf augmented by an awareness of time.


We learn the intricacies of a leaf by the mind's

dismantling—each plume a veined ornament

only the heart knows. I insist there's still time.


Water scooped into the palm adapts to the hand’s contour.

It molds and reshapes itself, attempting to mime

each alteration of the skin. The pattern is the same every time.


Each day when I woke to her in my bed struck me

differently. I never got used to her hair tangled

in the crease of my mouth, though in time I thought I might.


In the garden the burning calls of an intricate child

well up like sunrays over the brick. I hear one wail

then another, undulating, and I can’t ignore them this time.


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