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Pushcart Nominees


When my time comes to dissolve,
to let go of form, let me be water and air
so I might slide freely across the rough surfaces
of the earth, not stuck in rock, or dirt
or hewn stone.
Let me be mist—rolling across mountaintops
in the bright morning light,
crawling the valleys and crevices,
kissing all that cross my path—
precious or reviled.
Let me circle the earth, a marine layer,
to make the moss and ferns grow,
and wrap my diaphanous arms
around the alder trees,
cloaks of gray-green lichen
climbing up their trunks.
Let me push patiently out to sea,
and spread myself low and thin above the waters.
Let me stare down at my own reflection
and wait for the sun to rise and rise
and lull me into the nothingness
that is everything that was.

                                        AE Hines

                                        Portland, Oregon