Marilyn Krysl

West. The direction of oblivion. The sea.
Water throwing itself down, senselessly
banging. And remember,

when you do the thing you want to,
you may hurt some one. Here, for instance, is
a breast, and beneath it a heart, senselessly
beating, and here a hand—like mine
it wants to do only good—and now what is that

sound? The contralto of someone

sobbing. And then there are
the poor, for whom we have orchestrated
a hell of their own. Anyone can see
their brief children, falling otward the water, flakes

of snow. Everything
is given. Everything is taken away. Here is the body
in which we are solitary, and here the sea, undulent
territory without a floor or ceiling,
                                                            and here

its unleashed edge, beating down the door
of sand. For these reasons, I reach across
the cups, the plates, the napkins,

and take hold of your hand,

Found In Volume 29, No. 03
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Marilyn Krysl
About the Author

Marilyn Krysl has published four collections of stories, work in The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic and other journals, in Best American Short Stories 2000, O. Henry Prize Stories, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. Her most recent include Swear the Burning Vow: Selected and New Poems(2009) and Dinner with Osama (2008), a novel. She lives in Colorado.