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The Triumph of Death

These watches. Ticking, still. Each hour is cold:

the rims surround quick voices. Shut in rooms.

Gone. Tick. The towers. Tock. A fold

in air. We're smoke, drifting. A painted doom

where cities burn and ships go down. Death's

dark sky - a grainy docudrama. Time

swings bones on circus wheels. Listen: wind's breath,

a shriek. Theatrum Mundi. In their prime,

the living. Leapt. That buckling of the knees.

Then gunshots: plastic bags on fences. Snapping.

Or loose. Thank you - shop - at. The lovers see

nothing. He plays a lute. She sings. Clapping -

machines sift through debris for the remains.

A sales receipt, a shoe. The silvery rain.

from Seven Paintings by Brueghel

Anne Simpson

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