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by Lisa Beskin


[To Read the Title of the Second Book We'd Have Had to Destroy It]

’Twas the only pleasure, the only one I care to remember,
hearing Cassy sing, from one to seven or maybe two to eight,
wringing the shadows from her melodeon,
squeezing ecstasy from some superior heaven

where household sayings and the glass eye of Peter the Great
lie comfortably together inside a fragmentary trunk.
The nameless collector’s death was no accident—
a note found in the museum drawer suggests that

the steel pins holding his suit together gave out.
He writes in despair of “the Everlasting Story: BUTTERFLIES.”
What remains of what we know of him is a kind of 17th century,
worms grinding glass for an inverse telescope,

the vegetable lambs extending their tendrils.
I don’t believe he minded the nothing
on the butterflies’ minds. They were so gentle,
clustered just outside the ossuary.

For Rosamond Purcell


Lisa Beskin’s first collection of poems, My Work Among the Faithful, won the Blue Lynx Prize and was published in 2004. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Hotel Amerika, TYPO, Fence, and other magazines. (6/2005) 

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