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Irregular Cells

John A. Nieves


I believe that the veins
in leaves know the future,
that they always point
to arrivals and departures.
When a leaf falls, a route
is scrubbed from the map,
when a young leaf unfurls, new
lines are drawn, sometimes
right over the old ones.

I believe in invocation.
I can call ghosts into my throat,
my eyes, the thin lining
of my nostrils. I can let them
believe in me.

I believe in failure. The sinking
ship is more ship than the one
passing peacefully by.

And if this morning, the phone rings
your name out of the air, makes
your pictures sacred, I will believe
you could have said
only a few words to stay. In one
breath, you could have called
forth decades. This was your cliff.
You  jumped off the map
and into my throat.

I believe in failure. The inability
of voice to mean, to be
understood. I told you live.
You told me wait.
I told you live.

1 Comment

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  1. SusanS says:

    Nice poem, sad and true. These lines: “when a leaf falls a route is scrubbed” and “the sinking ship is more ship” and “off the map and into my throat” .

    Today I heard a leaf scuttle by. I thought it was looking for a Winter dictionary but maybe it was a gazetteer.

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