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by Debra Bruce

Hear Debra Bruce read this poem (in RealAudio):

RA 28.8, RA 14.4

(For help, see a note about the audio.)

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Now that your surgery's
savagery's smoothed over
and the calm you've put on is balm
for all, and in the interstices
between catastrophes you find yourself
enjoying joy;
now that your why?
is wisely subsiding, knowing no one
knows why one grows gold
slowly and one's bright green gets torched

in this intensely present
tense, in its rush
of cherished perishables, you might splurge
skyward, spreading
your colors in a free fall
never dared before; or
with minimal fanfare slip
into the life you left, the least
predictable most delectable,
in whose midsummer noon you pop
a flip-top in thirst, and think . . .
and though you simply sip,
deeply drink.

Debra Bruce is an associate professor of English at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago. Her most recent book of poems, What Wind Will Do, was published last year.

Copyright © 1998 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; May 1998; Plunder; Volume 281, No. 5; page 86.

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