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Dorianne Laux

Dorianne Laux

Dorianne Laux's most recent collections are The Book of Men and Facts about the Moon, both from W.W. Norton. Laux is also the author of Awake, What We Carry, and Smoke from BOA Editions, as well as a fine press edition, Dark Charms from Red Dragonfly Press. Laux teaches in the M.F.A. Program at North Carolina State University.

Like Music

On his way to meet his daughter in Liverpool,
Matthew Arnold died rushing to catch a tram.

April 15, 1888
It's difficult to imagine a legend
standing on his porch, juggling
his newspaper, umbrella, keys,
struggling to lock the door. What was it
like to step onto the gravel sidewalk,
approach the bridge, a fine Mersey rain
falling around him, the sleeves
of his coat speckled with pin-sized
droplets, in each the reflection
of the black umbrella's underside:
the rayed spokes, each thin silver spine?

Praise his last passage. His stark being
cutting across the street. His heart battling
the blood in his chest as he broke into a run.

Sir Edmund Chambers once said his poems
contained a "majestic sadness", like music.
And like music he surged, the tram
pulling away from his outstretched hand
as a violence gripped him from within.
The orchestra of his body played
its final cadence while his oldest daughter
waited on the docks beneath a plumed
English sky. With her suitcase.
In her best dress.

Maybe she touched
a passing stranger on the shoulder
and asked for the time.

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