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Ekphrasis on the Cover of Earthquake Glue

I found you against the red hill, paper boy
scout, clipped giant and placed beneath the radio
telescopes pulling archaeology from the hot

blue sky. It seemed as if you were straining
to imitate them, to run hiding stars through
your eyes to find the hiking path to technicolor

or a better future or back to your home page.
The landscape around you was rubbed white
like old cardboard and you knew what it meant

to crumble. The bright letters above promised
spectacular adhesive. And as collage, you knew what
it was like to be pasted in place—alien

forever in someone else’s composition. I wished I could ask
what you needed and if you read the bright white line
above the dishes as fear or hope. Beneath you

there is music, I can only hope that is consolation
for the rich tones of your loneliness. I’m sorry 
the best I could do was sing along.

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John A. Nieves has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as: Hopkins  Review, Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, 32 Poems, and Southern Review. He won the Indiana Review Poetry Contest and his first book, Curio, won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge’s Prize. He is associate professor of English at Salisbury University and an editor of The Shore Poetry.

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