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They were convinced they would live forever, the years drifting south to an ending that never came.


Fire licks the hand, the wings of birds embroidered on my back a flying night too frail to encumber.


The red stain of a truth I did not know, the sunken tower an angle of blind lines against the stir of the sky.


The bell sounds the hour, the outline of the train on the horizon clear as partitioned glass at the top of the staircase, coming back to where we started.


These marks that need more than your breath to give them life.


The transformation like that of the face of a stranger waking early and unremembered in your bed.


The innocence of the white leaf wandering, the clutching roots of trees that give no shade.


The sudden emptiness of the seawall when night comes in full defiance, weaving threads of time too fine to name, discouraging the currents of a more universal fear, the silence of the voice.


The weightless sun setting just beyond the bend of the road, moving on dangerous wheels. Summer surprised us then, coming up over the south German lake, skirting the rootless trees.


Two figures in a photograph faster and faster and faster, the world theirs for the taking, whatever the heart savors and patterns too vague change, the deliberate disconnection, the fragmentary scene.


Witness of flesh as the season turns to call the old widow in the brown house on the corner.


I slept deep and sweet beyond the intensity of light, hear the redeeming whispers of children.










Jonas Zdanys is a bilingual poet and translator whose poems and translations have appeared in many magazines and journals, among them American Poetry Review, Connecticut Review, Crosscurrents, Field, Poem, Poetry, Sewanee Review, Yale Literary Magazine, and The Yale Review. He is the author of thirty-nine books, thirty-six of them collections of poetry written in English and in Lithuanian and of translations from the Lithuanian, most recently The Thin Light of Winter: New and Selected Poems (2009) and Artistic Cloning: Poems by Agnė Žagrakalytė (2010). He has received a number of prizes and book awards for his own poetry and for his translations of Lithuanian poetry into English and was the subject of an exhibit at the National Library of Lithuania on the occasion of his 60th birthday ( He has taught at Yale University and the State University of New York, served for more than a decade as the state of Connecticut’s Chief Academic Officer, and is currently Professor of English at Sacred Heart University, where he teaches creative writing.


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