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Three Poems
Song After


Song after a song after story
one of the stories which end in stumps or falsely
which are made up of poses of positions and transpositions
of positions

arms crossed her arms holding herself to herself letting her hair down
slowly so to speak

arms uncrossed band around the body of the throat
hair brushed back almost matted
from brushing from the almost painful brushing
body of the body all of it floating gone to a stone region somewhere else
floating somewhere else

hair brushed back head
to one side



seated on a chair hair let down detail of hands
detail of unpainted fingernails

seated by a tree in the woods tucked into light into shadow by a tree

seated on a chair hair let down flowers
quiet intransigent shy
shock of the reappearance of the bride wildflowers in her hair

on her knees not seated
head to one side her
hands clasped behind her back.


Let it be a lullaby
song after

for she who sings herself to sleep

rise not
swollen and swelling aria over cellos not that sound the sound
of her breathing
and fall
effortless breathing
as breath of a sleeping child given voice

not September song not a seduction song a lullaby
not the song of a rattling tambourine held by a nymph held by a satyr
gift of a lullaby and of goodnight.


Came to me clear

clear enough question clear enough in its way
abrupt and unbidden
in the midst of the day of a sudden cutting clear through the day

to which I say can’t I
smoke too much

tongue cankered burnt and

stigmata on the roof
of my mouth doctor said so it’s true tobacco a depressant slows down
everything that happens
happens much later or never happens at all

ask me again ask something else use softer words


What comes like a thief
in the night what other than a thief by day summer day

what sentence
other than a sentence

to translate and to go on translating

each layer each carnal layer of meaning to
the final layer final predicate of the final layerless layer by the final
of the final syllable

into the only possible consummation the only possible
translation complete perfect

of silence into

John Taggart’s books include Pastorelles (Flood Editions) and Crosses (Stop Press UK).