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How Long Should You Look at the Earth’s Face?

Until you have memorized it, feature for feature, so

you can remember it, like your mother’s voice

in the room of your skull, speaking to you for the last time

over the phone, saying, “Are you happy?” Until

you are dumb with astonishment at having been given

so much: waterfalls, the ocean of air, insects

consumed with the world of insects, the sacrifice

of blossoms, fruit that ripens and dies.

Until you know that no matter what other life you live,

you will remember the smell of river water,

the chemical odor of ozone after rain, the solidity

of objects and the shadows that follow them,

food in your mouth, skin against your skin.

From Light, Moving (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2009)

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