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I stand to my chin in the cyan sea.
Salt burns my nose when I look down.
Nothing is near that belongs to me,
and nobody for miles around
when my back faces the crowded shore.
The solitary understands
one’s placement apropos the birds.
I am a cloud, or a silver machine.
Because I was raised by people, I became
bonded to people. I skipped
over the crabgrass with the other girls.
I laughed when they wanted. I ate what they handed.
Mastered the wind harp and Acrobat Pro.
Mastered Instagram and the sousaphone.
Much like a person, I have steeled myself
to like a person other than myself.
Still, secretly, I am, as you, a frightened god.
Birds skirl their warnings through the brisk, raw sky,
but I am become deaf, the destroyer of words,
submerged to my crown in the cyan sea,
chopping the spume with my many arms.
Michael Dumanis is the author of My Soviet Union and coeditor of Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century. He teaches at Bennington College, where he serves as editor of Bennington Review.
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