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Money is the sun at night, spirit
is a parrot. What is the thing?
A public assembly on a hill,
a hill the color of sage or money.
The assembly sounds like birds
and what it says is that
in another world we will not matter.
At night the hill is the color of night,
sage is the color of night
and money sleeps in the thing.
It’s even trained to say this thing
whose upper limit is another
and whose lower limit music,
the sound of the sun in that other world.
To get there a coin is placed in the mouth
of the dead—this the silent music
of the thing, the untrained speech of the dead.
They are deported into space as spirit
and reassemble under the hill.
The sun returns, and the birds.
Geoffrey G. O’Brien is the author of four books of poems, most recently People on Sunday. He is an Associate Professor in the English Department at UC Berkeley and also teaches for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison.
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