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white river poems 301
Book One
conversation with shades
From my researches, musings,
inquiries, trips to the scene,
I come forward, pause, feeling
not sure what I'm doing here,
head buzzing with my reading,
in silence, vagueness, poor light;
yet have no inclination
to leave; and begin pacing
back and forth, agitated.
A corpse appears in the air
above and to one side; stripped,
and blue as an alcohol
fl ame, with red-brown stains of blood
on mouth and neck; in the mouth
is rammed a piece of broken
barrel stave; around the neck
a length of chain has been wired.
As these details become clear
there rises above the corpse
the shade of the man Meeker --
a tall, angular, white-haired
musing man, hale as he might
have been had this not happened.
He stands looking at his corpse,
and the dimness behind him
rustles with wan presences
(like moths outside the windows,
on a still summer evening,
nuzzling the bright panes and screens,
and inside a man hears them