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F E B R U A R Y   2 0 0 0

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by Peter Davison

audioear picture Hear Peter Davison read this poem (in RealAudio).

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

Also by Peter Davison:
You (2000)
Best Friend (2000)
Falling Water (1998)
No Escape (1997)
On Mount Timpanogos, 1935 (1997)
Like No Other (1997)
"I Hardly Dream of Anyone Who Is Still Alive" (1995)
The Unfrocked Governess (1994)
The Passing of Thistle (1989)
The Obituary Writer (1974)
Gifts (1965)
The Winner (1958)

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Days when it's easy, the water
          seems wonderfully clear, not a
                   chance of drowning. Objects

appear so close that you need only
          reach down for them into coolness
                   until the word offers up:

as though you could shape thought with
          your thumb. Around you the air
                   blossoms with names for itself.

The noise of the waves tearing
          the shore apart blooms like
                   French horns, and the taste

of the self is very sweet. These days
          it's easy to forget how
                   stubborn silence can be, how

rapidly glibness drains the mind of every
          nutrient, what fanatic reinforcements
                   the armies of emptiness can bring forward.

These days every choice is clear, every
          location opens at a touch to
                   yield its necessary

drop of honey, every word glows
          with exactly the wanted
                   intensity of

Peter Davison is the poetry editor of The Atlantic.His poem in this issue will appear in his forthcoming book, Breathing Room,to be published by Knopf this fall.

Copyright © 2000 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; February 2000; These Days; Volume 285, No. 2; page 52.

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