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Cross Ties


Out walking ties left over from a track

Where nothing travels now but rust and grass,

I could take stock in something that would pass

Bearing down Hell-bent from behind my back:

A thing to sidestep or go down before,

Far off, indifferent as that curfew's wail

The evening wind flings like a sack of mail

Or close up as the moon whose headbeam stirs

A flock of cloud to make tracks. Down to strafe

Bristle-backed grass a hawk falls—there's a screech

Of steel wrenched taut till severed. Out of reach

Or else beneath desiring, I go safe,

Walk on, tensed for a leap, unreconciled

To a dark void all kindness.

                                           When I spill

The salt I throw the Devil some and, still,

I let them sprinkle water on my child.


X.J. Kennedy



From Cross Ties: Selected Poems (University of Georgia
Press, 1985), copyright (c) 1985 by X. J. Kennedy.
For permission to reprint, transmit by internet, or for
any other purpose, address Curtis Brown Ltd., Ten
Astor Place, New York, NY 10003.

Background by
Robin's Web

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