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I Have Already
       —for Robinson Jeffers
by Erika Ayón

I know what it feels like Robinson Jeffers,
to gaze over burnt hills, admire the beauty
of the ashes, inhale the immortality of life.
To contemplate an ocean, wish for it to
swallow me, for only then will I reach God,
understand humanity. To sense that my bones
are desirable to hunters of the sky.

This feeling started at age seven,
when vultures gathered in circles over
the dead kitten in the alley. Someone ran
over him, one of those cars that zoomed past
and left behind tire marks as footprints.
A moment when life and death stood still.
I glanced at the blood-orange sky, became
entranced with the vultures' wings in flight,
their sound of prey that pierced my ears.
Their eyes that followed me, have since
appeared in my dreams.

You might ask me, Robinson Jeffers,
and perhaps people asked you, "What
keeps you from crossing that edge to
experience a miraculous life after death?"
For me, it's poetry. With poetry I feel like
I have already embraced an entire ocean,
seen nature in its purest form. With poetry,
I have already circled death a thousand times.


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