"Biopsy"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
July 14 2009 6:52 AM

"Biopsy"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Sophie Cabot Black read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.
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Once he lies down, he says, he is afraid
There is no getting back up. Maybe
It will be that nothing ever 

Is the same; you put the body down
On the adjustable bed in the room where
Those before you also came and climbed into

Clean sheets, one blanket, one pillow, and a noise
Turning into trees whispering overhead.
People dressed in the exact clothing of each other

Walk in and never look at us. He is still afraid,
And so I lie down first, which is to say nothing
Except I am not him, concentrating on the manufactured

Tiles above us, which came from somewhere far
And were brought by truck or rail to this city
Where in time they were laid one by the other

To make a ceiling, sky below which we lie  
Looking for stars, as the needle enters the vein,
And we search for any possible constellation, something

Familiar to name.

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Sophie Cabot Black's books of poems are Misunderstanding of Natureand The Descent, which received the 2005 Connecticut Book Award. She teaches at Columbia University.

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