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           Andrea Hollander
 

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When You Hear His Name


unexpectedly,

long after you have claimed


it wouldn’t mean anything, you know

you have found the one name


you can never say,

never even bear to hear


even if it is now someone else’s name,

a neighbor’s child


and his mother snapping it at him

like a whip.


You try to make that sound just

a white sheet


the wind slaps

on the taut line. But you become


that line

holding everything above


the earth, stretched

house to post and back


again to house. Or you are

the post, placed


only to hold

the laundry up, keep


the line straight. You are not

the house, not a thing


someone can enter.


from House Without a Dreamer (Story Line Press, 1993)

Winner of the 1993 Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize

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