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The Sudden Light And The Trees Analysis

Author: poem of Stephen Dunn Type: poem Views: 18

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My neighbor was a biker, a pusher, a dog

and wife beater.

In bad dreams I killed him

and once, in the consequential light of day,

I called the Humane Society

about Blue, his dog. They took her away

and I readied myself, a baseball bat

inside my door.

That night I hear his wife scream

and I couldn't help it, that pathetic

relief; her again, not me.

It would be years before I'd understand

why victims cling and forgive. I plugged in

the Sleep-Sound and it crashed

like the ocean all the way to sleep.

One afternoon I found him

on the stoop,

a pistol in his hand, waiting,

he said, for me. A sparrow had gotten in

to our common basement.

Could he have permission

to shoot it? The bullets, he explained,

might go through the floor.

I said I'd catch it, wait, give me

a few minutes and, clear-eyed, brilliantly

afraid, I trapped it

with a pillow. I remember how it felt

when I got my hand, and how it burst

that hand open

when I took it outside, a strength

that must have come out of hopelessness

and the sudden light

and the trees. And I remember

the way he slapped the gun against

his open palm,

kept slapping it, and wouldn't speak.

Anonymous submission.


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