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Weekly Poem: ‘Advertisement for the Mountain’

'Forth A Raven' by Christina DavisBy Christina Davis

There are two versions of every life.

In the first one, you get a mother, a father,
your very own room.

You learn to walk, which is only done by walking.
You learn the past tense of have, which is hunger.

You learn to ask almost anything
is to ask it to be over,
as when the lover asks the other

“Are you sleeping? Are you beginning
to go away?”

(And whether or not you learn it, life does not penetrate
more than five miles above the earth
or reach more than three miles beneath the sea.

Life is eight miles long.

You could walk it, and be there before sundown.
Or swim it, or fall it, or crawl it.)

The second is told from the point
of view of the sky.

Christina Davis is the author of “Forth A Raven” (Alice James Books, 2006). Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Jubilat, The May Anthologies (selected by Ted Hughes), New Republic, Paris Review and other publications. She is the recipient of residencies from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Oxford, she is currently Curator at the Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard University, and the poetry editor of Nightboat Books. In February, Poet Laureate Kay Ryan chose Davis and Mary Szybist for the 2009 Witter Bynner Fellowships, and will introduce the poets on Feb. 26 at the Library of Congress, where they also will give a reading.

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