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I sing of arms and ears in piles,
the collateral we wage against concepts of order,
and the unstressed strings of prepositions spinning
our heroic yarns, either half–truthful
knots or fabrications after the fact,
leaving you, who chance it daily, to choose,
and no longer to extract act from word,
since you’re tickled pink to have tossed aside
a good career selling real estate to those suckers
who won’t accept the illusion of the world
even while they wait for extraterrestrial
contact and ignore the ingenious ways
we’ve devised to say “Stay Away,”
to each other included, and intone the hours
with the power a few faint pitches produce,
those with which God professed a goodness
that (like chickens) supports a theory of the supreme
being, since I cannot assume such things
exist for their own pleasure, but that,
like knowledge, I can never return to its Giver,
Author of the fictional systems I sing,
this life unto death, this loan in default.
Benjamin Paloff’s poems have recently appeared in The New Republic, The Paris Review, and Southern Humanities Review. His translation of Dorota Maslowska’s Snow White and Russian Red has just been released.
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