Surface By Miriam Levine


I love to lose myself in surface things,
a swallow’s dipping shadow on the grass,
glossy polish on red-wing blackbird wings,
shallow glimmers, silver gloss, slick, the flash 
of drifting stars the wild wind makes of
rivers, sleek shine on apples, easy love
for parasols, little flags, baby skin,
flakes of floating gold leaf hammered thin,
sun’s heat cooled to a shell of moonlight,
pink tinted peels of paper-bark birch slight
as pressed wafer, but with powdered dust
on the underside the color of rust.
I’d trade brilliant depths for the lightest
dry kisses on the inside of my wrist.

Miriam Levine is the author of Saving Daylight, her fifth collection of poetry. Another collection, The Dark Opens, was chosen by Mark Doty for the Autumn House Poetry Prize. Other books include: Devotion, a memoir; In Paterson, a novel. Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, and Ploughshares. Levine, a fellow of the NEA and a grantee of the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, lives in Florida and New Hampshire. For more information about her work, please go to

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