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Lee Stern

THEIR EYES

 

Maybe today is the day the swans will be opening their eyes. 

Maybe, when it happens,

we won’t have to allow ourselves any extra space. 

We can crowd in real close to the swans and open our eyes, too. 

We can show that we were always

only just pretending, in fact, that they were closed to begin with.

And though we always desire to fill you in with the greater details,

yet, that’s how we’d like this particular story to end.

Because what we were pretending to do with our feathers,

hear me, we will only be able to tell you tomorrow.

After the steamship fails and its white ball bounces on the ground.

 

 

 

HEARING A BELL

 

I seem to remember hearing a bell but that’s all that I can remember. 

Years later they told me that everybody

was trying to ring the bell out of their own desire. 

Whether the bell even made a sound or not-

was that immaterial? 

I don’t know. 

Like I’ve said, I’ve had years to think about it

and days when I don’t even know why. 

But I thank God that I’m not the one

who was saying that that was a responsible behavior. 

More civic-minded people would have just hit the bell once

and then gone on about their daily routine, listening, if they had to. 

But hoping for a different stance,

one that wasn’t quite so hard to maintain at the end of the day-

one that they could take with them at the beginning of a long trip. 

I don’t why, but whenever I think about these things,

what should have turned out to have been an easy task

turns out to have been distinctly a hard one that I never wanted to do. 

Give me this, though- that when I saw the bell

I didn’t ask you why it was there, only why its tower was still standing. 

And why the ladder that was placed against its far corner,

instead of leaning gently with the wind, seemed to be coming apart for me. 

And for the moon that was brushing me off with its hand.

 

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