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

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

PRACTICE, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: The world arrived / so carefully packed
Last Line: With speech
Subject(s): Bible; Speech; Oratory; Orators

The world arrived
so carefully packed
in time,
in time to open,
it could have been
God's parachute.
We booby-trapped it.
God, you will remember
from the Old Testament,
was a terrorist.
Now He's a generalization.
We've taken to scaring ourselves.
We scare the ozone layer.
But today, still spinning
around the world's axis,
which is imaginary,
I was permitted to walk home
again through writhing spring.
Leafy things and flowers
in earnest everywhere,
ignoring fear.
If it was anything

it was a garden.
Then, by the gymnasium
I saw a girl
in a green leotard with long sleeves.
She wasn't just any girl,
she was a dancer,
which is to say only
she didn't regret
her body.
She moved in it
and it moved.
She spun herself around.
She wasn't dancing, exactly,
more like she was practicing a dance,
getting the moves right,
which moved me
even more.

Sure I wanted her,
but I stood quietly
as she practiced dancing
alone, without music,
and then I continued on.
It wouldn't have been a good thing
to interrupt that solitude,
identical with her body,
or risk frightening her
with speech.

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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