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Stan Sanvel Rubin

Half Life


The day of your coming

was the day of my undoing.


I date everything now

by a calendar of exclusion.


Grief is on every page

like a blot


made not of ink,

but blood.


Considering our promises,

is there a difference?


What’s left is punctuation

and blank spaces.





From the smallest beginning

the structure of this universe

grew like a balloon

endlessly filling


with rocks and gases

and explosions and

the silence

that’s permanent.


Then we came

with our questions

and our fear.





As if I’m backing

out of Time


I obsessively watch

the shadow follow.


Its darkness is lit

from within like a demon


whose soupy brow

consumes its face


the way night does,

and now


I cannot see

my face.





Before you can be home,

you have to travel


far and wide

in dim regions


and wild places on the Earth

and the space between


where horror grows

as a daily occurrence.


No one plans this

though we try


to plan everything.

That’s how smart we’ve become.


The span of time

is your open hand.





When distant trees move,

Sun Tzu says,


the enemy is coming.

When the trees walk toward you


as prophesized by witches,

Macbeth learns what it means.


These are all signs.

Our life is filled with them.


Today the Wine Gods

have called me


for a special mission

that does not need words,


which is lucky

since I used mine.



Stan Sanvel Rubin has published poems in many US journals including Agni, The Georgia Review, and Poetry Northwest as well as in China, Canada, and Ireland. Four full-length collections include There. Here. (Lost Horse Press) and Hidden Sequel (Barrow Street Poetry Book Prize). A retired educator, he has lived on the north Olympic Peninsula of Washington for over twenty years.


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