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You Miss It

It's less lonely than it used to be,

what with the forests stripped down

to the minimum now, and the white lines

painted on the Oakwood Mall lot


and the cars parked like brothers,

in order of their arrival,

the sheen of the Lord upon them,

however, the last as blessed

with brightness as the first.


It's less lonely without the animals

broadcasting their strange sense

of themselves, as if being were enough,

if you sang it incessantly

from a high enough branch,

or possibly barked it into the night.


It's less lonely without the barking,

or the baying, or the night itself,

the small eyes clicking off and on

from the brambles, the lit green eyes,

the yellow. Though you miss it,

the loneliness, the size of it mostly,


the way you rose up to meet it

in fear, and were enlarged,

somehow, by the rising

and your own fumbling for sounds,

sequences, syllables


to cast yourself like a spell

into the midst of something

you neither made, nor imagined,

nor could keep from imagining.

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Max Garland is the author of The Word We Used for It, winner of the 2017-18 Brittingham Poetry Prize.

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