Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CARTOGRAPHY, by JAMES GALVIN



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CARTOGRAPHY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Out on the border a howl goes up, skinning the cold air
Last Line: It's real, it doesn't exist, it's on all the black maps
Subject(s): Boundaries; Maps; Wings; Borders


Out on the border a howl goes up, skinning the cold air.
A windrush as if from enormous wings descending
Slicks the grass down and thumps, and the whole sky bruises.
Out on the border it stops just as suddenly
As if there were some mistake, and there is: mortal beauty
This world can't bear, and a skeletal silence
Administrates the clouds, their passages, their dissolutions in light.

Out on the border right and wrong are more distinct,
But the border itself is suggestive, permissive, a thinly dotted line.
Amassed armies of forests and grasses poise,
Encroach, but never cross.
Even the sky stays on one side.
Another howl goes up, not a threat as was thought,
But an invitation to an interior. The border

Halves a piece of paper into here and hereafter.
A man, himself a fascicle of borders, draws a map and can't stop drawing
For fear of bleeding, smudging, disappearance.
When the map is complete the page will be completely
Obscured by detail, then a third howl.
Three things about the border are known:
It's real, it doesn't exist, it's on all the black maps.


Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org




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