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John Courtney

Rookie (05-22-1982 / Philadelphia)

Strawberry Mansion


I was born to dark birds
hungry around the white
city of a ceiling fan

And heard wheezing traffic
outside my first ear

the steady throat of a barge
drinking waves within
a woman's breast; I had two ears.

Over a golden hill
I swept the light
from a city, dragged
words from its river

my first eye was the moon
a second was to be the sun
as she closed them both
and opened my umbrella

I learned to walk in the night
just before dawn with Philadelphia

And wondered about the rain
and smiled as dark birds
disappeared; I can still
hear them starve.

Submitted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
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