A poem from ELEGY by Mary Jo Bang


After the beloved is dead.
After the personal history ends
With a glassy-eyed over, it's been,
Says a polar presence. Cold

Juxtaposes with the waning warmth
Of the human. Cold, and its polar
Opposite. There was once
An earlier epoch

Of four-wheeled skates, a Philadelphia
Sidewalk, when imagination corresponded
To a future. Here is the tormented
Arithmetic of one minus one. The zero

In one now hides the other. This is
What it looks like. A domino sequence
Of nothing becoming a spectacle
Watched for a while

(The gate latch sticks and then clicks)
While eating a cone of cotton candy.

A poem from Mary Jo Bang's National Book Critics Circle Award Winning book, Elegy.
By Graywolf Press

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