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Dan Beachy-Quick
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     Here are the lines my mind fathomed.
     They are tar-dark. I wrote them on pages
     Breathless and blank, as beneath water
     Men’s minds are blank but for needing
     A next breath. Sir, turn
     This page and the thick door opens
     By growing thinner, ever thinner,
     Until the last page turns and is turned
     Into air. Don’t knock. The ocean knocks
     Ceaseless on my little craft, and I am
     Asking you, Will my craft hold? I send me
     To you on a paper-thin hull. Don’t knock.
     I’m in there. I breathe on one lung
     For both lungs’ air; my hand is wet
     With knocking my knuckle to wave, and
     Though the wave opens, I am never
     Let in. I promised you the deep wave
     ’s inner chamber, I’m sorry.
                                                  Do you see, Sir—
     How the crest of a book builds at the binding
     And finally spills over on to no shore?
     Don’t knock. I will ask the water to open for you
     If you’ll stop. Don’t knock, don’t knock, Sir—
     Oh, it is not you. My wife’s at my study door
     And knows the wood won’t open from wanting
     Wood to. I must seal this craft’s last plank
     In place, and voyage it over ocean to you.
     “Come in.” She’s knocking. “Come in.”
     Her hand’s on my wooden shore, door—
     I go. Send word, send word. If you don’t, I’ll know.

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