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This poem is taken from PN Review 277, Volume 50 Number 5, May - June 2024.

Five Poems Alex Michael Stanley
Night Air

300 miles west, the sun is caught
mid-dive into a faraway ocean.
The ancient ‘either, or’ of duty and love
has come to bite me in the ass.
I’ve lost both, I’m sorry, mortal ears fall short.
I thought life to be more a puzzle than a maze,
I thought the relapse a coincidence,
I thought she could lead me to you.

Only the desert will claim me now,
my old master who sees more for me
than singing for rain as the light disappears,
the light in the dark cradling stars,
behind the same mountains,
while patience graciously sifts through
the night air, telling me to hold fast
and watch each mountain tremble.
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