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By Stuart Dybek

A man steps out of sunlight,

sunlight that streams like grace,


still gaping at blue sky

staked across the emptiness of space,


into a history where shadows

assume a human face.


A man slips into silence

that began as a cry,


still trailing music

although reduced to the sigh


of an accordion

as it folds into its case.


"Chord" from Streets in Their Own Ink. Copyright © 2004 byStuart Dybek. Used with the permission of Farrar Straus & Giroux, LLC.

Source: Streets in Their Own Ink (2004)

  • Arts & Sciences

Poet Bio

Stuart Dybek
Stuart Dybek is a masterful short story writer as well as poet. The qualities that distinguish his fiction—a strong connection to place, particularly his native Chicago, childhood nostalgia tinged with irony, a meandering narrative pace, and an ability to find beauty amid urban blight—also characterize much of his poetry. Few writers have captured street life as movingly as Dybek. The son of a Polish immigrant, he has published two critically acclaimed books of short stories, The Coast of Chicago and Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, as well as a collection of linked stories: I Sailed with Magellan. He teaches at Western Michigan University and lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan. See More By This Poet

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