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Two Poems
When I See This X-Ray of a Hand’s

long, jointed bones, floating like a bird’s, prehistoric, knuckling

in their brightness, as if to perform some magic trick, to pull 

a kerchief from the debut of darkness, I feel dangerous

as a spy, though unwilling as that reach toward something

between milk and sorrow, yet a gift, though be it

a knife, slow like time’s, then I feel myself straining, listening

(touch me, touch me) to the long echo of flesh say hello

The Living

You were reaching for flesh. It
turned to cloud, then the long rain
streaming down your body that slightly carves 

of skin a home 

for loss. Welcome pilgrim. Make of that broad leaf
a toque, then journey far into the mountains
where snow vanishes as it reaches 
and your yellow cap sails. 

Mark Irwin’s nine collections of poetry include A Passion According to Green (New Issues), American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987- 2014) (Ashland Poetry Press), Tall If (New Issues), and Bright Hunger (BOA Editions​​​​​​​). He is the recipient of many awards for his poetry, including the Philip Levine Prize for his tenth book, Shimmer, which will be published by Anhinga Press in 2020. He is completing a long translation project entitled Zanzibar: Selected Poems & Letters of Arthur Rimbaud, with an afterword by Alain Borer.