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Belle Isle, 1949 Analysis



Author: poem of Philip Levine Type: poem Views: 12

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We stripped in the first warm spring night

and ran down into the Detroit River

to baptize ourselves in the brine

of car parts, dead fish, stolen bicycles,

melted snow. I remember going under

hand in hand with a Polish highschool girl

I'd never seen before, and the cries

our breath made caught at the same time

on the cold, and rising through the layers

of darkness into the final moonless atmosphere

that was this world, the girl breaking

the surface after me and swimming out

on the starless waters towards the lights

of Jefferson Ave. and the stacks

of the old stove factory unwinking.

Turning at last to see no island at all

but a perfect calm dark as far

as there was sight, and then a light

and another riding low out ahead

to bring us home, ore boats maybe, or smokers

walking alone. Back panting

to the gray coarse beach we didn't dare

fall on, the damp piles of clothes,

and dressing side by side in silence

to go back where we came from.





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