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Once I Walked Out

Once I walked out and the world
rushed to my side.  The willows bent

their willowy necks, tossed green hair hugely.
The hawk cried by the well.

The crows kept counting their kind.
Once I walked out and the sheep

bleated with sensitivity, touched
black muzzles to the grass.

I was followed by dogs, by flies,
by horses both curious and spiteful.

The field of beans worked its sums
under green, the corn licked the air to haze.

I said goodbye to the house
with its sagging porch, attic hung with bats.

Goodbye braided rug, rabbit hutch, corn popper, copper tub .
The green world greened around me—

Virginia creeper, crown vetch, thistle, mullein, sumac.
I was full in my limbs, my laugh, pinkish skin.

I swung my arms, pulled air into lungs—
pine pollen, dust mote, mold spore, atomized dew,

bright wheel of flame twisting in the heavens
flushing the eye with light.


Mark Wunderlich is the author of The Anchorage which received the Lambda Literary Award, and Voluntary Servitude, which was published in 2004 by Graywolf Press.  He teaches literature and writing at Bennington College in Vermont, and lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.

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MICHAEL KLEIN wrote "then, we were still living" (GenPop Books, 2010), "The End of Being Known" (University of Wisconsin Press), "Track Conditions" (University of Wisconsin Press) and "1990" (Provincetown Arts Press), which won a Lambda Literary Award. He has work forthcoming in Poets & Writers, Fence and The Awl. He teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at Goddard College in Port Townsend, Washington and Plainfield, Vermont. He lives in New York City.

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  • Shropshirelad February 18, 2011, 2:04 am

    Gorgeous progression of images from static to dynamic, black and white to color. It really takes the reader along for the journey. How exciting for all of us! Thanks.

  • March 2, 2013, 6:01 am

    Wonderful write, Mark.

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