David Swanger: Two Poems



The owl, the most silent flier,
who flies on the softest feathers,
sees by the smallest moonlight
the vole, the mice among grasses,
and the rabbit. In the owl quiet,
in the owl shadow, those who are
left await their turn. The owl is
someone in a white coat in a room.

My Mother’s Nudes

Is it that I’m not done with you,
or that you are not done with me?
The person I love best says stop,
enough. But you tramp across
the page in the direction of your
failings, in the direction of your dreams.

We have unhappiness in common,
as if in the blood. Nothing can be
enough. How many seductions would
it take? What could convince you, you
deserved to be loved? Those “art studies”
for which you posed naked: did they

love you, the men who made them? Say
yes, please. Say that you were loved by
some of them. Say that I will never see
the pictures. Let your ambition be small
and over. You’re dead, and I’ve had it.
I want to be loved and to be left alone.

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