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This poem appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of The Antioch Review.


DUMUZI BIDS INNANA GOODBYE

by Chard deNiord

A breeze blew through your cotton dress
that hung like a curtain in the open window.

I tried to wake you a thousand times.
I tried to put your dress back on.

How sweet the sourwood hung inside the breeze.
How brightly the sun shone through the window.

It was not a place I could breathe for long, despite the breeze.
I was dressed in only the flesh your sister stripped

with invisible hands as I paused to kiss your lips a final time.
As I tried to explain my love for power in the upper world.

I wandered without my body that hung on a nail
below a sign that read:

Grief is an empty museum in which you roam in search
of even a frame. Silence the alarm in every room.

I felt as clean as a cloud, although I smelled of dirt
and stone. Although I ran as I slept.

***

Chard deNiord is the author of five books of poetry, Interstate, which is forthcoming from The University of Pittsburgh Press this September, The Double Truth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), Night Mowing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003) and Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990). His book of essays and interviews with seven senior American poets (Lucille Clifton, Ruth Stone, Jack Gilbert, Maxine Kumin, Robert Bly, Galway Kinnell, Donald Hall) titled Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs, Conversations and Reflections on 20th Century American Poets was published in 2011 by Marick Press. In 2002 he co-founded the New England College MFA Program in Poetry, which he directed until 2007. He is a professor of English at Providence College and lives in Putney.

 

© The Antioch Review 2015

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