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This poem is taken from PN Review 153, Volume 30 Number 1, September - October 2003.

Three Poems Monica Ferrell


Alexander Leaves Babylon

Alexander wept in Babylon, not because
his father had died or his old tutor
had looked at him finally with those eyes of stone

but because the drink of Babylon
was so good. It tasted of dandelion milk
squeezed from a stalk still in its greenness.

Here in his hand - the world: but first this glass of clarity
swelling like sunlight and as sharp. Yes, winter
had aged him suddenly as a straw statue left outdoors

in the everness of the terrible Gedrosian:
that skin-coloured bowl soft as the palm of God
where the urge to understand met the urge to disappear

and the two lay down to couple in the dust.
Sand scrubbed him clean as a glass there; he came out
empty as the strange room that widens between
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