Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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The Pages

It is a picture-book of the fauna to be found
in the New World with a sketch of a possum
            on the frontispiece that his mother loved 

as a child. Her first book, and then his—
the bobcat and alligator moving through
            the pages lodged in his mind like creatures

arriving in Eden on the first morning—
materialized from nothing, like the first
            signs, like handprints on the cavern wall,

like torchlight a thousand years after
the invention of fire. A porcupine spears 
            a mountain lion on page 59.

This prized possession nearly disappeared
in his hands from love and usage and now 
            remains shelved somehow in the Library

of Congress call number 915.316. It was
checked out by Carl Sandburg twice in 1925.
            On page 7 a grizzly bear sticks its face

in a beehive. On the back Abraham Lincoln
in black ink is written as if for the first time.
            The animal still moving through the pages.    

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