Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FUGUE FOR A DROWNED GIRL, by JAMES GALVIN



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FUGUE FOR A DROWNED GIRL, by         Recitation     Poet's Biography
First Line: It is the time of evening that promises miracles to anyone
Last Line: Might be willow sticks. Fish swim into her hair. One by one the lights in her nails go out
Subject(s): Death; Drowning; Rivers; Suicide; Dead, The


It is the time of evening that promises miracles to anyone who will believe
them. People come out to their porches to see what it's like disappearing.
Without regret they move around to the other side. Animals come down to water.
The time of evening when trees on the edge of the forest might step into the
clearing. Riverstones rub together with a sound like the turning of locks, or
like bells, held tightly in both hands.

The wind comes up from the pasture as if looking for someone or thinking of the
sea. Shadows of clouds ascend the canyon walls: huge trees growing hundreds of
feet and disappearing in smoke. The wind has searched the riverbed down to the
coast. It has returned with its arms full of branches.

Each night the sun goes down looking more and more like the moon. Each night the
sound of bells moving away. Each night the moon comes up looking more and more
like the only way out. Surely no one suspects her weeping. No one suspects her
sadness as she thinks of the smallness of the sea, or of cattle returning from
pasture. There are rows of glass jars filled with moonlight and the sound of
bells approaching.

Without encouragement, without being asked, a little blood has joined the water.
Children rush into the schoolyard. Late sunlight fills the high clouds. Surely
no one suspects her weeping. The river looks the same. People drink it and
bathe in it. They comb it into their hair. Her flesh by now is the color of
silt. Her bones might be willow sticks. Fish swim into her hair. One by one
the lights in her nails go out.


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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