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Erling Friis-BaastadListen



i.m. Gennady Aygi

I spend the first
hours of each day
talking trees
with a dead Russian.

G. and I sit around
my coffee and say
birch. For both of us
birch has served

as punctuation and
as a sort of travelers’
rest between Eucharist
and soul or soul

and Father. However,
it’s a cautious chit-chat
of leaves and twigs—
we are too polite

to come right out
and mention
the quaking aspen
just yet, or admit

to spruce boughs
cracking, breaking off,
and even falling
in the great wind.



The frequencies fall
silent. Megahertz
by megahertz
voices fall away.

The dial on your radio
freezes slowly
inside out, a dark lake,
its own black note.

Now, listen hard
and you can hear at last
that devil’s chord.
The stars are tuning up.

And then it comes.
Too cold, you
think, cerebral,
not to be danced to—

But somewhere
distant, something
into an ecstasy.


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