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Small Movements

                                    Julie Brooks Barbour


When there is no wind, only water,
when there is no movement but the tide
dragging a body by the ankles out to sea,
or the river filling a yard to flooding,

or the simple sound of a dog
lapping water from a bowl;
when the sound is less than a roar,
doves calling from the roof in the late morning,

starlings filling the trees with creaking voices,
or the dog’s muted dream barking,
or the shuffling feet of a nervous man as he speaks,
his movement constant in the uncertainty of his own voice;

remember these small stirrings
before the green water breaks over the wall,
before the wind and sea become so strong
you forget how to row.


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