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The Coin Purse

by David Gewanter

She said: I always talk against my chances,
paint a picture of what I want
    and show the ways I won’t get it—

I fill up a room of desires,
tally all the pieces there,
    and then, like the moving man

carry out the cargo.  Such freedom.
When it’s empty—that is,
    when I see my listener’s

eyes drop, finding the room
cleaned out, the dusty air
    and echoing voice, then I click

the conversation off,
snap it like a little coin purse.
    I hoard my luck.


David Gewanter is the author of In the Belly and The Sleep of Reason (both from University of Chicago Press) and co-editor, with Frank Bidart, of Robert Lowell: Collected Poems (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; Faber and Faber). His latest book, War Bird, was published by University of Chicago Press in 2009. Awards include a Hopwood Prize, Zacharis First Book Prize, Whiting Writer’s Fellowship, and Witter Bynner Fellowship. He was a finalist for the James Laughlin Prize, and his edition of Lowell won the Ambassador Book Award from the English-Speaking Union and “Book of the Year” from Contemporary Poetry Review. He teaches at Georgetown University. (12/2016)

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