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APRIL IS POETRY MONTH: 'Witness' by Amy Clampitt
An ordinary evening in Wisconsin
seen from a Greyhound bus - mute aisles
of merchandise the sole inhabitants
of the half-darkened Five and Ten,
the tables of the single lit café awash
with unarticulated pathos, the surface membrane
of the inadvertently transparent instant
when no one is looking: outside town
the barns, their red gone dark with sundown,
withhold the shudder of a warped terrain -
the castle rocks above, tree-clogged ravines
already submarine with nightfall, flocks
(like dark sheep) of toehold junipers,
the lucent arms of birches : purity
without a mirror, other than a mind bound
elsewhere, to tell how it looks.
Excerpt from SELECTED POEMS. Copyright (c) 2010 by The Estate of Amy Clampitt. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.