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Part Song
Muriel Nelson

1999 winner, Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize

[Read Sample Poem]

ISBN 0-9657177-4-7
Paper, 60 pages,
$12.00 (Free Shipping)

Cover photo by Arthur Kramer

"...spare lyrical grace and a tough-minded clarity...music rich and strange." —Edward Hirsch

"The sentences, impossible to parse, are the sound of language breaking down under the weight of ecstacy." —Richard Wakefield, Seattle Times


Part Speech

When she speaks to you with my pen in her hand,
her I has one ear and half a mouth
as if she were leaning into a phone,
as if she were speaking,
as if she were,
as if

like me, she had been
still as a crescent moon
receiver filled
with a faint whole self,
reflection of a larger self,
twice-reflected sun.

her sense of spinning, deaf
and dark, is part loss, part doubt
of ear, of voice, rendered part speech
like a foreigner's long-distance call bereft
of gesture. Nevertheless,

she keeps
pieces of body
and soul—not together
but far-flung about
her. That's how she keeps one eye
where yours are. And how always, she keeps one eye out.

© 1999 by Muriel Nelson
Part Song
First published inThe New Republic