The hope a mooncalf follows
is sacrifice for slaughter,
and yet the wings of swallows
still skip across the water. 

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To Love This Flesh

To love this flesh,
its rivers and valleys,
its fruits,
ripe or rotting.

To be conscious,
to understand a toad’s agony
or delight.

To finger the pricks of a bush,
lick the blood of the world
with a warm tongue,
and comprehend a crow’s hunger.

To breathe the spring air
full of laughing and weeping,
like a sow thistle
or lazy lizard.

To endure
without any sense of time—
to wake, sleep, live and die
under the same sun, moon and stars,
eternal as a weed.

To love the rhythm of this being,
like sperm swimming upstream
in one you love,

never questioning
or doubting the gods.

1994
first appeared in the Windsor Review, Spring 1997

 
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© by Leo Yankevich
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