Dancing residue of star-
Hewn light,
Veins of a rock
Cradling
the slow wheels of
Breathing leaves in rain.

Slave markets, drum chants,
the bartering for
Pelts and shells does not
Reach us here, in tales
Told in the nerves of a breaking wave.

Far to the north, under the ice, the old
Woman in the sea pouts, turning aside
Her radiant face matted over
By the red lie of our silences.

Jealously, she hides
the seals and red berries
Of spring.

Quietly, in gentle desperation

We swim down to her,
Stroke her hair.

Again and again
we discover ourselves
By this act of tenderness

And she releases.

And we live again,
in the boats
of our songs.

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Michael Shorb's work reflects an abiding interest in environmental issues, history and the lyrical form, as well as a strong focus on satire. His poems have appeared in over 100 magazines and anthologies, including The Nation, The Sun, Michigan Quarterly Review, Queen's Quarterly, Poetry Salzburg Review, Commonweal, Rattle, Urthona, and European Judaism.

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