Paul Hoover

Theory of Margins

     —for Keith and Rosmarie Waldrop

Given the prices
these days, late
empire in a stew,

where is the island
of Mr. Callisto,
the accident report,

and nautical reason?
Nowhere to be
found. But we

are always finding
an echo in the cloth
or two lines at

convergence making
the most of
absence. We drag

expensive ghosts
through memory's
unmade bed

wrinkled like skin.
The past has its
seasons and disjunct

facts ceremonial in
their cadence. In
chaos of perception,

one final needle
awakens in flesh;
a line of ants

follows the peony's
curve for sugar
and the view;

and pallid flowers
with solid stamens
stand within a

field where all
painted things are
quietly impressive

because they simply
are. The logic
of circumference

is being what's
contained—isolated lakes,
zero letting go.

Yet the kitchen
speaks of meadows,
one loon creaks and

herons fly sweetly
only with the
stream. Spring will

arrive with instincts
and string, a
thin moon and

new settings. You
lean with your
eyes toward the

numb sun, where
a stitch of
oleander takes platonic

shape along the
veranda as something
near percussion

and yet not
wet. Threshold and
entrance of a

music near breaking
or maybe
grass leans because

the light is
fading. In neon
panoramas and

heartbeat chapters,
the manifest act
is performed near

a bed. There
will be music
and other root

systems and all-
consuming angels
with their mouths

on fire, extravagance
and plainness
in equal measure

and delight in
the receiving. Breathing
on the stairs.

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