Mark Harshman

Approaching Legend
by Mark Harshman

So very bald was the dying man and weirdly transformed
by the shadows that now grew along all the veins
of his dwarfish body with a dark shining
almost beautiful, as if he were becoming
wooden and might soon sprout some kind of
leafy arms and legs and step up and
out from his dying
into the brotherhood of others, step out
among all the yellow houses lining this quiet street
in Berlin, and just be
among all the birds in the sibling trees, among
all the feral dogs in the alleys, all
the wild stones and stars, and he would know
nothing of rot, nothing of the arrogance of physicians,
nothing of the Madame saying he was too old, nothing
of what goes around these days as knowledge
but know instead that the wings of death fluttering close
were offering dream-gifts of deeper nights, the paranormal
topo map for every stony path, the liturgy of the constellations,
a way that goes away
from emasculating life and into
the quiet bowers where the birds
nest and mate and practice morning after morning
their multivalent, exuberant revivals.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 2.

Mark HarshmanMarc Harshman’s Woman in Red Anorak, won the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize and was published in 2018 by Lynx House Press. His fourteenth children’s book, Fallingwater, co-authored with Anna Smucker, was published by Roaring Brook/Macmillan in 2017. He is also co-winner of the 2019 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. Poems have been anthologized by Kent State University, the University of Iowa, University of Georgia, and the University of Arizona. Appointed in 2012, he is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia.

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