Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Daumier, Man on a Rope

Above the nothing that is nothing,
he dangles in forethought,
not afterthought, like Mohammed’s coffin
hanging between earth
and heaven, face darkened
by fear or apprehension,
or merely paint, arms taut with the sum
of his own gravity,
one foot steadied against the building,
braced against the fall
that never comes, though whether
burglar, or acrobat,
or just a man on a rope is never revealed.
Like Bede’s sparrow,
like Schrödinger’s cat, like the artist
hung between the idea
and execution, the man
is lost in the nowhere
that is life and the nowhere not.  

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