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You Want Your Truths Told of You by E. Travis Lane

You want your truths told of you—
        those wavery lines!
                 Each pencil mark’s a fiddlehead
                         unfolding to an island of wild fern,
of alders, grass, of willow trees,
        of sharp dams in the silty sand
                 where a barefoot girl stands
                         to watch a cattle barge
rock, like a cradle in the wind.

She can not tell them where she stands,
        her nude toes turning blue as clams
                 in the murky water where it chafes
                         the green facts into islands—
shoals, reefs, whirlpools, naked trees
        scoured by the ice.
                 Her plain nouns bell their inner folds
                         like a coiled spring uncoiling
                            or like eggs

that tremble in her hand and beat
        their shells with razor bills and spread
                 out wings.
Their shadows cast on the millstream float
        on spinning water for all time,
                 never entirely truthful.