Literary History
by Anthony Seidman

    When the first
    poet sang
    it was
    in a scale only
    whales could haul up
    from steepest
    ocean floors.
    The scale oozed
    fingers of rain
    from ears of the deaf &
    stillborn; the scale
    rippled over
    swamps of cyonide where
    submerged tigers
    hunted red elephants.
    It was a scale
    the woman heard when
    the pit of a plum
    petrified
    in her womb; it was
    in the key of wind
    after silence gels,
    and sentries fall
    asleep against their spears.
    It was the sound
    of shock absorbers
    silently pumping
    over unpaved colonias
    of Juarez, or a bar
    after bottle shards
    have been swept.
    The first poet sang
    in a scale that had to be
    whispered so that
    an egg
    could be heard
    cracking.







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