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lost language

the history of coupled days
is fenced off
like small farms
on a patched landscape
told in mirror words behind words
rich with Mandarin tones
and underscoring gestures
the merest lift of eyebrow or shoulder
slight signing of finger on lapel
or nose or necklace
a word pulled from a sleeve
like a magician’s endless handkerchief
to dazzle and distract
and keep its secrets
and now these words
mean only what they mean
and can be found
on grocery lists and street signs
now the words are codified
and sealed in dictionaries

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lost language


figure and ground


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©2004 Ellen Steinbaum

My photo on the home page is by Peter Urban.
The cover of my book, Afterwords, was designed by Kate Misail.
The Painting on the cover of Afterwords is by Eric Sealine.
The painting on the cover of Container Gardening is by Faith Hochberg.

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