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Red Dust Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Levine Type: poem Views: 10

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This harpie with dry red curls

talked openly of her husband,

his impotence, his death, the death

of her lover, the birth and death

of her own beauty. She stared

into the mirror next to

our table littered with the wreck

of her appetite and groaned:

Look what you've done to me!

as though only that moment

she'd discovered her own face.

Look, and she shoved the burden

of her ruin on the waiter.

I do not believe in sorrow;

it is not American.

At 8,000 feet the towns

of this blond valley smoke

like the thin pipes of the Chinese,

and I go higher where the air

is clean, thin, and the underside

of light is clearer than the light.

Above the tree line the pines

crowd below like moments of the past

and on above the snow line

the cold underside of my arm,

the half in shadow, sweats with fear

as though it lay along the edge

of revelation.

And so my mind closes around

a square oil can crushed on the road

one morning, startled it was not

the usual cat. If a crow

had come out of the air to choose

its entrails could I have laughed?

If eagles formed now in the

shocked vegetation of my sight

would they be friendly? I can hear

their wings lifting them down, the feathers

tipped with red dust, that dust which

even here I taste, having eaten it

all these years.


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