In Jakarta,

among the vendors

of flowers and soft drinks,

I saw a child

with hideous mouth,


and I knew the wound was made

for a way to stay alive.

What I gave him

wouldn’t keep a dog alive.

What he gave me

from the brown coin

of his sweating face

was a look of cunning.

I carry it

like a bead of acid

to remember how,

once in a while,

you can creep out of you own life

and become someone else—

an explosion

in that nest of wires

we call the imagination.

I will never see him

again, I suppose.

But what of this rag,

this shadow

flung like a boy’s body

into the walls

of my mind, bleeding

their sour taste—

insult and anger,

the great movers?

—Mary Oliver

Published in: on December 22, 2009 at 11:58 AM  Leave a Comment  

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