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City You Won’t Come Back To

Feb. 6, 2011
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A white light strafes the railyard as freight trains churn and click

past burned-out tanneries, car yoked to car. Slow halt of a body as it grinds

to the brink of rails. What flashes to beguile. What we let go by. Tonight

we sit in the diner, red block letters pulsing in our spoons. In the black sheets

of the windows, we study the reflection of reflection. If I put my hand

on your hand. If you put your head on your chest. If I took up the sugar

and poured it on your plate, saying start anew. Pay the tab and then we will resign:

the tangleyard benighted with belief, the season saddled roughly to its twinge.

Nightshade roots in the alley, boxwood snares the park. All that rust and stubble,

all that riff and tear.  For now, let’s walk where elm trees net the vacant lot.

For now, let’s traipse out barefoot, gummy tarmac blackening our heels.

Anne Shaw’s first book, Undertow, won the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize and is available from Persea Books. Her work has also appeared or is forthcoming in Harvard Review, Black Warrior Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Barrow Street, and New American Writing.  Her experimental online poetry project can be found on Twitter at   "http://twitter.com/anneshaw" twitter.com/anneshaw.


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