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More than advantages itís absences

we should acknowledge, being most in debt

to whatís unhappened for our happiness.

How easy, though, to let


what could have been lie in oblivion:

The wayward lymph, for instance, spurred to course

helter-skelter, reckless as a Hun

scouring west, his horse


hoared with foam. Who thinks to thank a fever

passing by uncaught; the pretty mole,

round and innocent on the skin, that never

burrows beyond control;


the lottery that lets the horsemen turn

their horsesí heads and, riding off, forbear

to run us down; the die we donít discern,

unrolled; the stars that spare


us their disasters?  Not for what they give;

what they withhold, what isnít, what therefore

remains as unknown as a negative

unproved.  No, we ignore


the mercy of the lump that isnít there:

Make us alive to what does not existó

our sufferance to live so unaware

of all that we have missed.


Deborah Warren



(c) 2000; originally printed in the Cumberland Poetry
  Reprinted by permission of the author.

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