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"Protractor"

A window is only a window when stepped away from.

To swim in deep water should feel no different from shallow,
and yet it does.

Losses are so. Split into yellows and blues.

A child's protractor proves it:
what begins near quickly grows far, once the lines are allowed to.

As two are in a room, then only one.

Death on one side of the clear glass,
not-death on the other.
Neither saying a word from inside the enlarging.

 

Jane Hirshfield, Come Thief (Bloodaxe Books, 2011)

This article first appeared in the 26 March 2012 issue of the New Statesman, Mission impossible