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from Ordinary Work

Kathleen Jesme

2. Map of the Floating World

Sun-scorched sheets of water under us

a tiny cross: shadow of the plane

cormorant flying low


Consecutive days
highs and lows
rain or snow
in the half-inch
moving in
the afternoon


Points back where we’ve come

when we are no longer
touching anything but sky

dark blobs of islands
closed eyes
in a huge face

the slight rounding far off north
I come to recognize later as horizon


It must be a house: you step over
and you are in—
whether solid or outlined—


He took me high enough to see
the thin ridge of sand between bodies of water
where he’d perched our lives

Small mark on the map: each arrangement erases what came before
and is itself

Kathleen Jesme

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