LEARNING TO READ – George Amabile


Start with something simple, how a thin
red comet’s tail streaks the skin

of an apple. Watch a trout rise. It leaves a stipple
on the sunset lake that grows to a bull’s-eye ripple.

What stories come to you from the faces that rip
through the dark in the lit, rocketing comic strip

windows of a train? Now look up: hybrid
cumulo-cirrus pale as a bird’s eyelid,

and behind that mottled veil, a bright burl
that looks like the crown of a luminescent pearl

skull. Or maybe there’s only the usual scatter
of hard, blue sparks that flicker, and mirror

their counterparts with orbits lost in the deep
space of an atom. These are things you can keep

surprising yourself with when there’s nothing else
to do and you’re bored with the stretched absence of bells

and whistles. Cliche: The world is a book? Yes.
Though how it begins or ends is anyone’s guess.

George Amabile has published ten books and has had work in over a hundred national and international venues, including The New Yorker, Poetry (Chicago), American Poetry Review, Botteghe Oscure, The Globe and Mail, The Penguin Book of Canadian Verse, Saturday Night,, Poetry Australia, Sur (Buenos Aires), Poetry Canada Review, and Canadian Literature.

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