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Missed Signs

by Stephen Massimilla


Waiting was always in the nature
of the landscape, merged
with bike lanes, camp roads, similar

signs but signifying differences, boulders
from rock clefts, crushed
pine or bone. Even the far-off face

of mountain was blooded at dawn
by a sudden lake of sun above the lake
of cobalt shagged with shade. More sun

broke perilously close, on fawn
and doe browsing in spun mist. Looking
out, we stopped

breathing, never to share a slow climb
to the slippery bottom
of that great glass eye again.

             All I’d have taken away
scalds like love no longer
bound to live, reflection of my own

impatience in eyes which glanced
and were gone. Looking down, you wavered
to warn you would not go

swimming, where our yellow figures, or none
or few, still hung
like sun-sparked flies

over the lake. You always made your living
staying alive. The doe about to bound
into the road was always posted on its sign.

 

Stephen Massimilla’s books and poems have won the Bordighera Book Prize, the Grolier Poetry Prize, a Van Renssalaer Award, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. Massimilla has new work in Barrow Street, Borderlands, Chelsea, Colorado Review, The Cream City Review, Folio, Fulcrum, Hubbub, Quarterly West, Verse Daily, and other journals. He received an MFA and a PhD from Columbia University, where he now teaches classics and modernist literature. (10/2008)


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