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The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Poet Laureate Projects > Poetry for the Mind's Joy > Winning Poem: Untitled #7
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This poem was submitted for the "Poetry for the Mind's Joy" project and is reproduced here with permission from the author. All rights reserved. Poetry for the Mind's Joy is Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's project that includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively videoconference.

I will write the poem of your skin in sleep,
pale limbs folded like a child's paper fan:
graceless, guileless
and so more beautiful
than any waking thing.
I will take the two of your hands, each
knuckle bearing the blush of anxiety
and whisper in their tiny ears
until they dance.

if these things are unsuccessful, I will paint
your tawny cheeks, the color of summer grass
every dawning shade of gold
and present you with my canvas
which is so bright
you will be forced to laugh.

you see: there is a message
caught between my teeth
like a blue feather.
I am trying to lure you close enough
to open your lips,
to open your eyes
and place my secret
on your tongue.

Folsom Lake College, Folsom, CA
Faculty Contact: Kim Livingston, Assistant Professor of English