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Winter 2016

Thirst

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The miraculous warmth that arose so implausibly from rock had, within it, thirst.

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Thirst made by a glimpse that is, each time, brief.

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As if, each time, that is all you are allowed.

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The way back to it never exactly the same.

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Once you have been there, always the promise of it.

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Promise made to beguile and haunt, you think, residue of an injunction that is ancient.

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Not only ancient, but indifferent?

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Half the time when you pursue it you fear that this time, out of distraction or exhaustion or repetition, this time it cannot be reached.

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I hope you’re guessing Orgasm, or Love, or Hunger for the Absolute, or even The Sublime—

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History littered with testimonies that God gives his followers a shot of God; then withdraws.

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The pattern, the process each time the same.

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There,—

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…then, not there (withdrawn).

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Each time you think that you can predict how to get there the next time, soon you cannot.

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The singer’s voice, the fabled night the microphone captured her at the height of her powers—

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You have been the locus of ecstasy.

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You have been a mile above the storm, looking down at it; and, at the same time, full of almost-insight, obliterated at its center.

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Creature coterminous with thirst.




—Frank Bidart



Frank Bidart will publish a new edition of his collected poems, titled Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965–2016, in June of 2016.
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