"Cardinal Points" litetrary journal: www.stosvet.net

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Michael Waters

The World Inside This One

Chernobyl Necklace

Among those "countries that are counterfeits of Death,"
Baudelaire could not count Belarus
Where throats festooned with red crescent scars
Grin across schoolrooms and factories.

Even an aesthete like Gerard de Nerval
Who leashed his lobster for a stroll to the opera
Could not imagine such theatricality —
The post-op smiles where butterfly-shaped

Thyroids once blackened, then blossomed.

The World Inside This One

Spring: your mother ammonias the windows,
Each chamois gesture returning to glass
A certain beauty always there, but less
Obvious before this moment, the light

After seven days' rain casting judgment

Upon all things with odd clarity: light
Seducing light, your body enraptured
By the hour's whispered solicitations,
The glass so clean it no longer exists.