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David Bottoms

David Bottoms

David Bottoms has published seven books of poetry, two novels and a book of essays/interviews. His many awards include the Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Levinson Award from Poetry magazine and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA. He holds the Amos Distinguished Chair in English Letters at Georgia State University. He is a past Poet Laureate of Georgia.

Close Call

                     How fragile we are, between the few good moments.
                                                   —Jane Hirshfield



Starting the morning
on the prayer porch doesn't always insure a calm day.

Like the Sunday I slipped on the rain-slick drive
and took nine stitches above my eye.

A wind draws the scent of lilacs across the yard,
pine needles rustle. The wound, though healed, still throbs.

Once again, I open my heart to Kelly's icon,
Christ Pantocrator hanging between two panels of screen.

My mother would call that face an idol. Most Baptists actually.
But those calm eyes, that delicate hand blessing the world!

I open my heart again to the icon.  
(Silence doesn't always mean absence.)

The rocker creaks rhythmically on the tile-stones.

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