Regarding my previous letters
I am truly sorry.
Understand as a child
I required a kind of harness
but chewed through my leash.
I flicked the heads off flowers
and sang a wicked song.
Alone in a brown fort
my weapons were perfected.
1982, year of the day
the toxic berries did not destroy me.
Ever since I’ve licked a wound
and been of odd things
unduly fond. To find a language
for the little squeak
certain mushrooms make
when sliced with a sharp dry knife
has been in part my project.
More than money
I valued the slow ballet
of dust in sun.
In another life I was derisive.
In another life I was a clam.
In this one I’m in
I’m standing in a store
which is a place of business
but also a venue for what happens
when ordinary home furnishings
embrace with subtle art
a sense of whimsy.
I feel washed by the tides
of bemused and patient wonder.
The hands of the woman I love
are touching the shades
of many lamps.
She carries light
like a new tree wrapped by the city
in black protective metal.
I carry on my chest
an optimistic message.

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ETHAN STEBBINS' work has appeared in Poetry, FOLDER, The Los Angeles Review, The Hudson Review, Diode, Bellevue Literary Review, Best New Poets 2008, and elsewhere. He holds an M.A. in English and American Literature from New York University, where he received a fellowship from the New York Times Foundation for poetry.

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