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29| Outcast Ballad

Jason Roush

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Despair is mostly silent,
heard only inwardly,

and desolation’s always
more interesting than love.

Fortune belongs to others.
Longing to be them: the worst

of curses. Though despair
is also honest and spares one

that lame and tiresome game
of lining up the right lines.

Let the faces of passers-by
remain as far removed

as the ceiling of the sky.
Love will not appear

before or after the volta.

Jason Roush is the author of four books of poems: After Hours, Breezeway, Crosstown, and Dispossession. He teaches at Emerson College and New England Institute of Art.

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