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Something Has Fallen Analysis



Author: poem of Philip Levine Type: poem Views: 9

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Something has fallen wordlessly

and holds still on the black driveway.



You find it, like a jewel,

among the empty bottles and cans



where the dogs toppled the garbage.

You pick it up, not sure



if it is stone or wood

or some new plastic made



to replace them both.

When you raise your sunglasses



to see exactly what you have

you see it is only a shadow



that has darkened your fingers,

a black ink or oil,



and your hand suddenly smells

of c1assrooms when the rain



pounded the windows and you

shuddered thinking of the cold



and the walk back to an empty house.

You smell all of your childhood,



the damp bed you struggled from

to dress in half-light and go out



into a world that never tired.

Later, your hand thickened and flat



slid out of a rubber glove,

as you stood, your mask raised,



to light a cigarette and rest

while the acid tanks that were



yours to dean went on bathing

the arteries of broken sinks.



Remember, you were afraid

of the great hissing jugs.



There were stories of burnings,

of flesh shredded to lace.



On other nights men spoke

of rats as big as dogs.



Women spoke of men

who trapped them in corners.



Always there was grease that hid

the faces of worn faucets, grease



that had to be eaten one

finger-print at a time,



there was oil, paint, blood,

your own blood sliding across



your nose and running over

your lips with that bright, certain



taste that was neither earth

or air, and there was air,



the darkest element of all,

falling all night



into the bruised river

you slept beside, falling



into the glass of water

you filled two times for breakfast



and the eyes you turned upward

to see what time it was.



Air that stained everything

with its millions of small deaths,



that turned all five fingers

to grease or black ink or ashes.






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