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This poem is taken from PN Review 80, Volume 17 Number 6, July - August 1991.

Monte Gennaro Epigrams One Robert Wells


What can the water be, other than itself?
I thought it was a fate gathered from the hills,

From each grey cranny, each hollow of moist air,
To glisten on your shoulders, your narrow chest;

And I imagined how you would turn in sleep
In the dark barn as the dream took hold of you,

Its weight and plenty bearing your body down -
A wish disguised, a knowledge not to be kept.


The land took everything that was there to take.
What remained was what was unpossessible:

Servitude's counterpart, a hidden freedom
Ghosting your gestures, bringing you to the pool

To learn its own existence over again -
Your weightless body finding in the water

A different poise, the water as it clothed you
Startled alive to its cold buoyant plenty.

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