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by Mary Gilliland

Life had, the astrologer said,
             but one curse: I could not
                          go mad.

When I heard the music
             I cannot repeat
                          I was halfway home
                                       five years into the voyage.

Their voices were honey
             measure by measure
                          dropped on the small of my back.

I married the ropes
             as well as the mast
                          my writhing as ranting
                                       a plea as my shouts.

                                       Today I recall not one word.

When I beached I made thanks.
             I walked home to the face
                          without an adventure
                                       to which I was wedded.


Mary Gilliland lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York and teaches at Cornell. She is a former Stanley Kunitz Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Recent poems have appeared in LIT, Passages North, Poetry, and Seneca Review. (5/2005)

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