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The Sandy Eubank Memorial Prize

Dennis Ward Stiles

Swan in Bare Oultine: List

Swan in Bare Outline

There’s so much winter.

The mice are busy with denial.

Their noses twitch.

The frogs are at peace
in palaces of cold mud.
Dragonflies dart into their dreams
then vanish as light.

The waters are fresh.
They taunt the old stones
with their wigs of moss.

Fish in a stupor study the spot
where a spider once fell.

And look at the swan
almost hidden by reeds.
It is still, its body white as fresh snow
its face ebony, a black key.

It lifts a wing and stretches
with grace that defines the moment—

pond, sky, death, the waiting and reaching.

Swan in Bare Oultine: Text
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