Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IMPRESSIONS, by KAREN SWENSON



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IMPRESSIONS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I pluck the leaves and print them
Last Line: The fingerprints still wet upon its flank.
Subject(s): Artifacts; Mothers & Sons


I pluck the leaves and print them.
See. These are the ligaments of life,
sealed from the stamp pad to page,
ink ruts the fluted module of the ginkgo,
transplanted from chlorophyll to pulp.

I guide you through the park
entering these designs into your book.
But this is only an outline
leaf to leaf. Turn the page.

We discard them
their veins dying in the stain of our proof.
And then comes the reversal.
The spore of life tracks us.
It clasps the wind behind our heels,
scraping the concrete with a sound that smothers
our hands in a cocoon of grave wrappings.

As we walk away to that spindling echo
I remember the cave in Spain;
the bison propped against the wall
tacky as half-coagulated blood
after how many thousand years?
An animal of life's desire leaning against stone.
The fingerprints still wet upon its flank.





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