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This poem is taken from PN Review 107, Volume 22 Number 3, January - February 1996.

Four Poems Stephen Burt

Lot's Wife
He had packed as if for a long vacation: bottled water, sleeping
bags shiny like bugs, clenched together like fists in a crowd. But
my agates, my address book, my cigarettes, my… there was no
need for them; they burned.

I can no longer imagine that city enough. I know it had men
dressed as cherubim across the high street, trailing clouds of
Mylar on parade, a radiant turbulence in basements. Even the
violent found something they could enjoy. Afterwards street-
lamp-shafts bent at the limits of vision, and burnt-paper corners
of ruined walls: translucent remains, as of a thermometer.

I'm a sundial. I can tell every bright hour with stultifying regu-
larity: each day the same black circumnavigates me, my
crystalline thickening waist, my no-feet. When time passes
slowly I am what it must pass.

Sometimes it rains, but not enough.


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