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To the Sun

by Tom Sleigh

Crowned in hydrogen, it travels incognito,
visiting equally the mansions on Brattle
as the mad and dying in City Hospital,
its warmth bereaving for being impersonal.

Friend to all that dies in spite of its spring heat,
it ghosts across windows of highrises half-built
and brick-faced warehouses
reflected in the river, it makes

the trash trees in alleyways glitter,
acid green stinging as the day clearing of rain…
Come to my friend’s mother painfully swallowing
raging, aphasic, who pushes away her food,

allows herself and her daughter not one word.
Come like the volunteer that strokes
her cheek until her body heat
diffuses, her blood starts to cool…

X-ray eye penetrating to our souls,
show us to ourselves as we bullshit and scheme,
help us to survive our own stung minds
swarming day and night with cock/cunt dreams…

Come as a conqueror whose molten heat
makes sunbathers and street people sack out,
their mouths yawning open to demons
who slip in and out of us whatever our lives,

shed your light on trash cans sprawling in the street,
stir the vacant lots to rank weeds tangling, pushing
through asphalt as no matter what the soil
you guide us toward your heat,

oh blinding father, enemy of blight
who drives us to the shade, give us this hour
to hang by the river and pass around the wine
until our minds buzz like hives of honeyed light.


Tom Sleigh’s books of poetry include After One, Waking, The Chain, and most recently, The Dreamhouse, to be published by the University of Chicago Press in November, 1999. He received the 1999 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. He teaches at Dartmouth College and will be a Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University in the spring of 2000. (1999)

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