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Voice

                                    Maggie Smith


Whenever the girl speaks, the boy’s eyes
dart to her, as if he remembers her voice

from before his birth, as if in a dream
she spoke into the woman’s belly

and told him the story of the mountain,
and now the story runs in his blood.

The boy knows the girl, the woman,
the man. He knows the hawk, the hawk’s

unwavering shadow. He knows the crows
who cut each shape with their sharp cries,

and he knows the characters of fire
and water, and the hunters, and the women,

and the mountain itself. As if the girl threw
her voice into his body, bequeathing

an inheritance of words. The boy was born
into a story he knows by heart—by flesh

and bone—but he’s changed the story
by entering it. Now he is one of its tellers,

and none of the tellers knows how it ends.


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