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At the Shipping Port

by James Arthur

As the train slows, a struck joint
echoes between cars: a bull’s-eye crash that buckles
over space, boxcar to boxcar,
an air and iron corridor. Ear and eye file report,

though not in synch. When the cars’ convulsion’s done,
the ear’s petite, unerring forge
knocks on:

                          As the train slows, its stockcars bang out
their commuting shudder. Yokes sound
in heavy pairings: so feeling wakes up

in feeling. So many bit parts
teach this living whole, so touch-touch, but
every body is far apart.


James Arthur’s poetry has appeared in The Nation, Brick, The Iowa Review, AGNI, Third Coast, and Many Mountains Moving. He is a fellow of Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, and La Napoule Art Foundation in France, and in 2004, he received the Discovery / The Nation prize. Currently, he teaches composition at Northwest Missouri State. (5/2005)

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