The Little Review
Making No Compromises With the Public Taste
Poem for Sunday and Carderock Animals 
Sunday, 29th July 2012 12:01 am

Drawing from Life
By Reginald Shepherd

Look: I am building absence
out of this room's air, I'm reading suppositions into
summer's script snarled on a varnished floor.
It looks like a man. That knot's his hand
waving good-bye, that stippled stripe of grain's
the stacked-up vertebrae of his turned back.
Small birds (sparrows or finches, or perhaps)
are cluttering the trees with blackened ornaments (burning
in the remnant light of August eight o'clock), and noises
I can't hear. Chirring there, chittering. The window's closed.

I am assembling a lack of sound
in this locked box, and dotting all the i's
these floating motes present (my composition), I am not lonely
for the palpable world (midges I dap hands for
and kill), shivering into darkness underwater outside glass:
what's left of light sinking from zero down to less,
cobalt down to zaffer, deeper to purple-black
where divers drown. The swimming landscape's
all mistake (one world that shuts air into
my submerged terrarium), and I am luck.

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Our Saturday morning was quiet, mostly watching Olympic fencing (Daniel even woke up for it) while Adam was running and biking. After Adam went to work at Glen Echo, the rest of us went hiking at Carderock, where there were lots of climbers anchoring their ropes over the rocks and lots of five-lined skinks scurrying around the fallen trees from the storm at the beginning of the month. The trail there is high above the Potomac River, hence all the climbers, but we walked along the towpath where we heard though did not see many bullfrogs and we walked through the campground.















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We knew the results of several swimming events by dinnertime, so afterward we took a break for a while to watch The Hollow Crown production of Richard II with Patrick Stewart as John of Gaunt, Lindsay Duncan as the Duchess of York, James Purefoy as Mowbray and lots of other wonderful actors. I sometimes think Richard's soliloquys go on too long and the play is quite humorless, but Ben Whishaw is riveting and the directing is superb as well -- actual fighting instead of threats and wonderful visuals, actually showing the crown itself as the well and weight it's described as being.
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