From the Archive: Larry Levis's "The Secret"

TIR staff

I have just painted a luminous
green moth on the inside of
your thigh. We talk,
stare into the fire,
become unimportant.

I go out quietly,
shutting the door.
Wait with my big hands in my pockets.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Watch the shadows of fish bellies twisting
over the bottom.

There's something I'm not telling. 


This poem was discovered in the The Iowa Review digital archive by David Freeman, our poetry intern, who writes, "Larry Levis (1946-1996) was a poet of intense observation and mourning. In the wake of the publication of his final book, The Darkening Trapeze: Last Poems (Graywolf Press, 2016), this poem from our 1972 winter issue (3/1) shows Levis at his most vulnerable, addressing the tension between what one can say in the medium of poetry and, perhaps more importantly, what one cannot."

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