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"The Dreadful Has Already Happened" Analysis

Author: poem of Mark Strand Type: poem Views: 27

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The relatives are leaning over, staring expectantly.

They moisten their lips with their tongues. I can feel

them urging me on. I hold the baby in the air.

Heaps of broken bottles glitter in the sun.

A small band is playing old fashioned marches.

My mother is keeping time by stamping her foot.

My father is kissing a woman who keeps waving

to somebody else. There are palm trees.

The hills are spotted with orange flamboyants and tall

billowy clouds move beyond them. "Go on, Boy,"

I hear somebody say, "Go on."

I keep wondering if it will rain.

The sky darkens. There is thunder.

"Break his legs," says one of my aunts,

"Now give him a kiss." I do what I'm told.

The trees bend in the bleak tropical wind.

The baby did not scream, but I remember that sigh

when I reached inside for his tiny lungs and shook them

out in the air for the flies. The relatives cheered.

It was about that time I gave up.

Now, when I answer the phone, his lips

are in the receiver; when I sleep, his hair is gathered

around a familiar face on the pillow; wherever I search

I find his feet. He is what is left of my life.


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