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Clade Song 7

No Here but Now

Across the coalsack of my mind, every dead Java sparrow, every shape of green.
Until the opium turn stopped, Saturn believed its rings could wobble-on forever.

So that now, much obliged, the field mice gnaw the bones of a fallen owl.
So that now, the greedy grubs knock heads at the blistering carcass with a weight only      the grass knows.

Up the mountain, there is another mountain.
I have been pick-axing my brain for a place of peace for sixty years.

If I stuck up for myself, finally told the people who hurt me that they were wrong,      would it be me or the field mice who would spontaneously combust?
Would I travel a long time in the brain ways of a dying owl, as if I was a fleck of sky
     never quite peeled apart and entered?

Tell me how we can fit our complete animal into the constant of one another’s sorrow.
There is no there but here, no here but now, no now but always.

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George Kalamaras, former Poet Laureate of Indiana (2014-2016), is the author of fifteen  books of poetry, eight of which are full-length, including Kingdom of Throat-Stuck Luck, winner of the Elixir Press Poetry Prize (2011). He is Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he has taught since 1990.