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First Stain, Second Stain, by Cal Bedient

March 23, 1997

They crawl over the sides of dry-docked boats.

A short drop. Then concrete. Two dock hands fighting,

ignoring them. Hearts that had been careening to the right

now stand bewilderingly straight up. No taller than some people one knows.

It's raining outside. Here and there, puddled expanding O's

stop suddenly, as if asking, what for? Like tabled

arm flesh spreading only so far. Far enough.

The mashed potatoes are passed. Then the gravy.

Autumn's palette flares and goes out. Such is the bride,

her dress beaded in flies. Such the world,

friends lit up by their dying. The flattened road kill

of forgotten beginnings. All the unitemized rain.

From "Candy Necklace" by Cal Bedient (Wesleyan University Press: 104 pp., $25). Reprinted by permission.

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