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FALLEN A friend had a Minnesota catalogue company send me plant-them-yourself dahlias by mail. The tubers nested in a rumpled mess of shredded paper. One strip, caught deep in a root's cleavage resisted, wouldn't come out. I pulled carefully at the white paper, reading its trun-cated sentence: ... enclosed manuscript for your Poetry Prize. I hope... I remembered those publishers' guidelines: we will recycle those manuscripts not selected in a manner that will maintain the writers' privacy. Shredded, they sent the mess to nurseries, to protect other bundles from being mishandled, torn. It took me three hours to separate the fragments of that specific font and paper from the other strips. I saved seven lines. So this poem is for you - the one who wrote: blossom twigs in a glass jar by the bed and God of the hinge, potential or fallen: it's that time of doubt again. I want you to know I love that line, its surrendering tone, its rhythm - and pinned it to my wall. In Autumn, when my first red dahlia blooms, I'll put it in a glass jar, and place it under the word fallen.
Boston 1999 Index