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Night was woven through with what we said,

a Persian rug, patterned with random stars.

We sat on the windowsill of a ruined

farmhouse, all of us quiet after talking.

Weeds lay tangled below, a great square

of something intricate, unknown,

and I thought how it could be caught

by four corners: a carpet lifted

into the dark, undulating up and up.

I might have been pulled into the blue-black,

too high, too far, but something called me

back. Yesterday, kayaking, I recalled it

near a silver stretch where herons gather

at low tide. Just beyond,

water runs deeper, faster, the eel grass

slowly brushed this way and that, farther

down. We'd paddled back the wrong way,

though I liked the shallows and then

the cool green deeps. There, before us, birds

ascended as if drawing something

with them, the sheen of water, a wavering

transparency. We could see the slant

of fields, scattered houses and barns,

orange buoys comically bobbing,

and currents opening to reveal,

lower down, many liquid stairways.

Carpets

Anne Simpson

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