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Drying Out

by James Arthur

Every sharp distinction cut.
I’d ride around on the bus.
I saw a fire truck in fallen flowers. So much mass
under so much nothing.
I was rattled by the sign, ELECTRIC MOTORS &

I’d walk a mile out of my way
to not cross a bridge,
wearing wool gloves on summer days.
When touch-me-nots waved, I felt sick.

I was cold in a madrona’s shadow, shocked
by the wetness of a leaf.
The nights were so dark; the mornings,
too bright.
I saw a lawn chair reclining in the sun
and had to shield my eyes.


James Arthur’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Iowa Review, and The Southern Review. He has received a Discovery/The Nation Prize, the Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholarship, a Stegner Fellowship, and fellowships to Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. He lives in Oakland with his wife, fiction writer Shannon Robinson. (4/2009)

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