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Read Kuusisto's poem
Kansas: Deaf Girl Watching the Moon




Elegy for Lucy Grealy

by Stephen Kuusisto

Lucy I put our planet on the table
And sectioned it like fruit.

I felt wise, avant-garde-
Making a place to love

Is about taking love apart,
Never about assembly.

And the planet on the table
Always behaved, never struggled.

It knew its role, came apart
Like the moon in Spain:

That moon of coins
Breaking for Goya.

Every crippled kid grows up
To play at paste, play doctor,

Cut the patient,
Bury it with dimes and string.

The victory swallows
Talked like mad

The summer I met you.
You gave me your poems.

I remember horses, flight,
A meadow, some dancing.

So I took your poems apart,
Wrote you notes,

Played the more fool,
Sectioned your planet.

I think you wrote me off-
Why not? There were boys


At MacDowell-
You bragged

About fucking one
On a pool table.

I hadn't read your book.
I was too blind

To see your face.
I knew how to slice

The blue planet.
Then by starlight

I thought about lines
I could cut

From every book on earth.
And very late, a thin wash

Of cirrus clouds
Crossed over the field.

I walked my dog guide
By the three quarter moon.

(A night driver told me
What was going on above.)

And I heard you then, far ahead,
Laughing with a man,

And everywhere
There was the smell

Of half cut hay.

Poet Stephen Kuusisto's most recent book is Only Bread, Only Light. He teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Ohio State University in Columbus.


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