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Self-Portrait with Radio

                                    Jake Adam York


Always between the asymptotes of pine
I could find a star, ice or iron or steel’s
white blinding hot no one could say.

I’d brace in my window and worry
my rag of night, waiting for each creature,
dog, dragon, bear, to circus by,

for lightning to erase the sky
or some other flash, the army’s shells
flowering half a county over, or worse,

their cough and static over the music
any night could bring, something
beyond country or gospel or A.M. prayer.

When church went brimstone
I’d ask for dark to come,
I’d pray to the stars for another story

and walk out, strangely alien in the day,
ready to wake and see myself at last
elsewhere, something else, born

into some other light. And still,
sometimes, I am there, by the radio,
easing the dial through the longest waves,

ready for the call they say will come,
the one that lifts you off the earth
to carry you home.


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