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Landscape with a Very Fat Man, Seated

by Paula Closson Buck

Chicago Zoo, 2004

The man is alone but not extinct.
Not like a muse or a nude does he sit,

friendly planet in the concrete amphitheater.
Not by the rivers of Babylon is it November.

But here. You are here. The seal sleeps on a rock,
in the asset of her winter blubber.

Late afternoon, sky white, gates wide open.

Who can say if the man is in exile
from the tiny seats reservable everywhere?

In the neighborhood of the seal,
he bears resemblance. Though not having a neck

has never been the seal’s salvation,
perhaps it is a comfort in these last days.


Paula Closson Buck’s second book of poems, Litanies Near Water, is due out from Louisiana State University Press in spring 2008. Individual poems from the manuscript have appeared in AGNI, Denver Quarterly, Gettysburg Review, Laurel Review, Southern Review, Shenandoah, and other magazines. Closson Buck edits West Branch and teaches creative writing at Bucknell University. (2/2008)

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AGNI Magazine :: published at Boston University ©2008 AGNI