Poetry December 2010

Wave

Of and not of
water, moving in water,
through it,
while the water lifts in place
as it passes
buoy and boat, the way hands
in one row
rise as one, to fall
as the next
row rises, in a phantom
billowing of
and not of, in and other
than, across
the stadium, over the bed,
in the flapped
sheet rippling as it’s drifting down.

Sine and swerving cosine
of the starling
cloud, of the shock waves
of the bomb blast,
of the slithering snake or the snaking
river that somehow
is the same shape as the building pressure
of the urge of
the desire, in the middle of which
the air too,
atom by atom, rises and falls
with the cries cried
at the same time from your lips to my ear,
and from mine to yours.

Alan Shapiro will publish two books next year: Night of the Republic, a collection of poems, and Broadway Baby, a novel. He teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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