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Ethan Paquin

Two poems


Why do I Wait for the Thunder Nightly


Dire, the minimalism of a tornado watch map
which is the most confident of paintings, yes.

All the dots where potential tornadoes may turn up —
I have seen those fields last year, never saw their tinge

of tractor, only the blought of air ready to go east
and bring some loose sands and grasses with it.

When walking by these fields I try to see them
yellowed, like adulterated photos. The greens

more brilliantly washing into the redder sky,
browner edges of clouds that want little to do

with time — to be as careless as a damn cloud,
yep, my first and best thought here on the bluff

and once on a Caribbean cliff, in Maine once
in a tidal basin near The Nonantum, up high

atop a peak known since the 1890s as Owl’s Head —
always the clouds most interesting, always needing

them to be perfecter, wanting them different ways,
fascinated by their names, the Latinate, their dying

over Newfoundland but never Florida, place worthy
not of my dreams or attentions or fancies. Clouds,

most confident of installation pieces, yes. The world
a gallery, really, and all I can find the time to do:

waste time with words, ignored little bastards, think
of the wasted efforts, all those basement storage books

gone, hidden, gone efforts, think don’t authors know,
clouds and maps confront us daily, succinctly.

Why do I Wait for the Thunder Nightly

At the end of a twelve-foot-wide hallway
there is one of my windows.

And at the end of that one of dozens
of windows, a deveined pocket of dark.

Within, the shakening shudder of elm,
only I don’t see it this way or at all:

there are highlight lines the moving leaf
of midnight. Makes. The leaves make

me want the thunder, which has held off
as a tanker ship abandoned in shallows

at some washed, eighty-foot-high dry dock
where everyone stays away from sadness

has handed itself its death settle — can you
imagine the loss of floating on the sea?

Whether the tanker ship does, or thunder
imagines loss . . . of itself, perhaps, for

after all, it is the fadingest of all murders,
murder of ion and calm, of brown sky,

there are crumpled circles, cats-eyes, almost,
rolled to the end of that hallway, bunched

in the left corner. I want to reach out,
to palm the marbles near a sullen rain.

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