Poetry Fiction 2009

Swan Song of the Last Believer

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How to know when to cry out?
At the incipient prickle of doubt
mistaken for a subtle rise
in temperature? Or at the doubt
after that, threatening to affirm
your most miserable surmise?
Or when more insidious doubts start
multiplying—start to dance
and surge chaotically like sperm,
too speedy and paisley to chart?
Or on the first panicky glance
at the vast hall that once was crowded,
the barely hearable gasp and soft
stumble of the one beside you? When
the one beside you is suddenly not
beside you? When memory of that one
grows too distant not to be doubted?

J. Allyn Rosser’s most recent collection is Foiled Again (2007). She teaches at Ohio University.
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