Today's poem is by Mary Ruefle

Speak, Zero

There was a morning bowl of cereal
and we sugared it
Then mother took the bowl away
Then mother took the bowl

Years of which I have no time

One by one they reached into the sea
and took the lightkeepers out of the lighthouses
Then they took the lighthouses out of the sea

Thus the world falls back on its original plan

The dolls washed up on shore not far from here
and the wild horses who come and lick their faces

There is nothing definite about you
but you happen in detail

From finches we take feathers for our hats
From us they take hair for their nests.

The one veritable transitory power
is your right to hide

And despite the early hour, the papaya was empty
neatly scraped, never slept in

Nothing clarifies the mind like a death sentence

Because reading is a kind of sleep
and sleep a kind of music

Yet I'm crazy for your incredibly purple face,
the way you keep seeds in your pocket

Copyright © 2004 Mary Ruefle All rights reserved
from West Branch
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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