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Speaking To You (From Rock Bottom)

Speaking to you
this hour
these days when
I have lost the feather of poetry
and the rains
of separation 
surround us tock
tock like Go tablets

Everyone has learned 
to move carefully

'Dancing' 'laughing' 'bad taste'
is a memory
a tableau behind trees of law

In the midst of love for you
my wife’s suffering
anger in every direction
and the children wise
as tough shrubs
but they are not tough
—so I fear
how anything can grow from this

all the wise blood
poured from little cuts
down into the sink

this hour it is not
your body I want
but your quiet company 

Michael Ondaatje