Readings — From the March 2018 issue

After a Pageant, Before a Birth

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By Brenda Hillman, from a work in progress. Hillman’s collection Extra Hidden Life, Among the Days was published last month by Wesleyan University Press.

   In winter, among laws of probability
     the quiet ones merge
into earth. They sort the fertile chaos
      from flat statement.
What they derived was vital & vast,
a justice outside our usual music.
     Packed into again dry ground
          the eye-
          shapedseeds point south :::
sprout, yonderlings! We’ve been in touch
    with the king of thieves
          who keeps our health; all
          the wild noons hang down.

i sort the troubled jewels of intention,
i count the half-rings of the owl,
i ponder my petty resentments
     & can maybe keep
     two of the twenty-four (ponder
yonder ponder yonder); weak one,
     don’t pretend you’ve seen enough
     to change the ratio—
     (then a whatness
seeped from the lining of our hearts,
& let us switch tones to survive—)

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