Rob Hack

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Togo chasm

I have come through hardwoods,
from the road that circles the island.
Alone with a thousand jagged spires
sharply grey against the sky and sea.
The vast empty sea, east to Pablo’s
to Hart Crane slipping into the Caribbean
Celan finding refuge in the Seine,
Federico face down in a hillside grave.
The horizon line interrupted by an
ineffable mood. White top waves
of a deeper blue, and spray salted,
white, spews high above the cliffs.
The cliffs. In this place I sit alone
with every poet I have ever known.
Alongside Brancusi spires
I am heeled and scuffed in time
names impressed upon me
on the way to Togo chasm.
A tent maker in sandals threads
his pearls in philosophic quatrains.
Carl Sandburg in cream loafers
sings      I am the grass let me      work.
Delicate moon,
a yellow thief that steals the night.
Immense light
waxing each leaf, each stone.
Claws scuttle and scrape and break the
brittle bones of trees.
Swarms descend in a mesh of sound
every cave a black scream.
The moon is a thief that steals
the wind      from tall ships
the ebb and flow      from these booming cliffs.

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