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Jacket 19 — October 2002   |   # 19  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |
This issue of Jacket is a collaboration with Verse magazine

Paul Guest

The God of Neglect, Overheard

O hearts fat with custard, and sweet,
forgive that I move at all

and signal my coming with rain:
forgive the rusted rasp

of all things: the venom-wet wasp
nesting in newspaper,

tenant of scabrous ink;
the starved blur

of the bird pecking nothing
upon the ground, singing

suet and sugar-water, worm and dust.
Were I to forget you

the world would fatten
and the hinges swing free;

rust in rills would run
from where you stood,

shocked still by dawn.
O mouths rimmed in blood,

if I left you
I would return to feed you

black hanks of kelp
from each fist. And again

you would lose the whole
of what was gained

those days I swam away from you
like an echo, dead

to your ears and never
to return, this tipper

of urns and master of mold,
this god of the slack

figure and swollen belly —
O lambs, O marrow melting like wax.

Jacket 19 — October 2002  Contents page
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