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Men in the sky.

Leaves are falling as the telephone men ascend to the tops of poles. They are riding a magic long-armed machine. No need any more to climb. To speak through wires is as natural now as falling leaves, natural as men in the sky. But even the natural fails, breaks down. The telephone men in the cupped palm of the long arm are reducing the static, helping me reach far out of town. And they are beautiful in their hard orange plumage. The finches and cardinals: mere birds by comparison, unchangeable, nervous. It's a shame the men must come down. I stood next to them at the Seven-Eleven at lunch break, heard them order ham and cheese on a hard roll, Dr. Pepper. I saw them get out of their trucks and spit. Now the leaves graze their shoulders suddenly more golden for having touched them. My phone is ringing. It's one of the telephone men, the highest, the one with a sufficiency of tools around his waist, calling to see if everything's all right. Everything isn't.
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Author:Dunn, Stephen
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:May 1, 1993
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