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Going Out

Seen outside,
sky’s still white,
but flocculent with cloud
blurs, calming to those
who have stopped
lifting binoculars
to witness cliffs
being scaled sidelong
by ruddy mountaineers;
stopped checking
the newspaper’s contract
bridge advice; absorbing diagrams
of various crashes; reacting
to eau de crapola that flaps
from magazines; wondering
where the sky ends—that is, all
the soldering blackness.
However, it could be
that, nearby, your double
is wearing slippers with floaty
pom-poms, topping a drink
with a radiant cherry, printing
crimson lips on a cigarette
and an unbuttoned collar.



No Way Back

for Li Ho

There’s no god of rain
anymore—or if there is,
it’s the owl arrayed
on a stop sign, the heron’s
clef biding the scrawl
of water. Horses that ran
in swirls from the wind’s blue tang
are now clouds and spaces
between clouds, the moment of gallop
when emptiness passes
between hooves
and grass.



Angela Ball’s latest book of poems is Talking Pillow just out from the University of Pittsburgh Press. She directs the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, where she lives with her two dogs, Scarlet and Miss Bishop.