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Also by Gregory Sellers:
What the Winds Says | Elegy with a Bird's Shadow | Elegy for Those Not Yet Departed

Elegy for Those Not Yet Departed*

This much I'm sure. It is hard to believe
in another morning's gift now that the evening
lawn has learned to grieve. Tonight moonlight
keeps sending its condolences, as if forgotten
whites on the line at the far end of the yard
can no longer bear a body's absence, and
that faint slant of lost light from a kitchen
window is not enough to bring anyone back.

Yet no one has left to forget that familiar way
home, those simple names of neighborhood streets:
Elm, Oak & Maple. Outside this window empty trees
keep rehearsing a sadness I wish I could ease.
Restless curtains ghost about as if they have some
other place to go. The once sure shadows have
now grown weary of their own quiet visits. Still

this room tries to hold onto everything it can.
Dresser mirror shines. Full moon shifts
to leave itself upon the polished floor—spent soul
too tired to find its body. But this is not a scene
where the sheet is slowly drawn over the head, or
the doctor helplessly closes his black leather bag.
The lawn has no reason for its plain, dark suit,
this solemn night—its one pale chrysanthemum.

Soon daylight will slip between the limbs,
begin to soften the lonesome, walled sorrow
of shadows. Even the last geese
that shall rise across this endless, gray longing
will not make much of what they leave behind—
no winter song for lifeless trees
nor grief given nights in the glove-quiet
that a pallbearer wears, finding
what it's like to touch & not feel.

*revised since its original appearance in CLR

Printed in the Spring/Summer 2000 issue of CLR

Gregory Sellers

Greg Sellers received his B.A. in English at Louisiana State University and earned his M.F.A. in creative writing at Arizona State University. The recipient of a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship and a Pushcart nomination, Sellers has been recognized by the University of Mississippi for his contributions as a creative writing instructor and has been selected national Teacher-of-the-Year for 2002 by River of Words. His poems recently have appeared in Poetry and other work is forthcoming in New Letters. He currently teaches creative writing at All Saints' Episcopal School in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

You can find Gregory Sellers on the web at:
—  Poetry Magazine

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