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Rosemary Klein
Poems

About Poet
Rosemary Klein is executive director of the Maryland State Poetry & Literary Society and the founding of Three Conditions Press, which recently published The Woman from Away, the collected poems of Barbara M. Simon. Currently, she is editor for the Division of General Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center, where her own publications include articles in Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Surgical Innovation, and the Vicon Standard. The Absolute Heart, a chapbook of her poetry, was published by New Spirit Press, and she has served in the Maryland State Arts Council's Poets in the Schools program.

In Life, In Death

I had a friend once
who taught me to see,
fine-tuned my eye
to the splay of stars
that overlay existence
and the fine-pointed leaves
that quavered as postmarks
for the bats in the blue
black night. Then he
became rubble, emptiness,
dust, a trail of smoke.
In a minute, I would
be held again in his
blood, bone, smile.
But the blued black that
outlined the leaves
has turned to pitch
black. The bats veer
and wing in raucous
circles. Everything
that was made flesh
can die while living
and whom is
there to blame?

~

Speechlessness

How many languages escape
without being heard.

How many times have you listened
until the words scrape
against your ear, their branches
tap, tap like an envelope against
the palm of someone impatient,
then slowly the branches fill
with rain turning to snow.

How many languages have you forgotten.

When colored glass is lit by sun,
why have you not turned
your head to its speech.

Damage has been done
to your heart. Today you told
me that. Simply you said,
I am gone. I am sitting here
before you but someone has
stolen all but my loneliness.

You leaned back, bracing
yourself with rigid arms.
Shadows imprinted the lawn.
The day slipped from
your shoulders.

Will you try me out
as new language
upon your tongue.

~

Anatomy Of A Still Life

If we knew how our body is made,
we wouldn't dare move.
- Flaubert

We would like Darwin -
who could not walk half a mile
and following meals suffered
from bouts of wind the evolution
of which fouled the air -
submit ourselves three
times daily to ice bags applied
against our vertebral columns,
take secluded holidays, absenting
ourselves into our minds or billiards.

Or we might fast, leaving our milk
and eggs and gruel untouched
as Newton, ascetic of inactivity.

But given spine, better to move
into a sociable contract with our body,
an emulation of the waning
Rousseau, exiled from hope, country,
fellowman, adrift each morning
in the wooded Parisian countryside
magnifying glass in hand to hold
to plants and grass and contradictions
of the self, taking lonesome walks
in which he abandoned his outer being
to journey further into that inward body
of knowledge, where he might forget
the tugging at his broken heart
of the bloody body politic
he'd never see evolve.

~

Rosemary Klein
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