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Poem Trumps Hate

Summering in the Amalfi Coast, 2017

It is not a privilege to be groped.

 

Not even in an air conditioned Mercedes,

riding shotgun on a day

hysterical with beauty:

cliffs flipping by on the drive,

and an azure sky,

and in the sea a clot of

freshly painted yachts.

 

It is not a privilege, after,

to talk in college-bred

Italian with my attacker.

The word for “no” is the same,

but on my lips, it’s lame:

he can see me only as

sola una donna,

just a piece of thing.

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We are only taking our turn

in this world.

The birds are waiting patiently

for theirs.

They thank God in earnest

for their wings that will fly

with the next flood.

God grew up and promised

She wouldn’t do that thing again.

But I believe she left Herself an out

by letting us destroy ourselves.

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Magician

On the way to the hospital, I ask for a sign that it will be all right.

We take a wrong turn, and there is a church dedicated to my patron saint,

Bernadette,

A grotto with the supplicant girl before the Queen of Queens (of Queens).

On the way to the hospital, I try to keep the feeling light.

“I want a puppy welcome wagon,” I say.

Turning the corner is an army in their Park Avenue collars,

Woofing my invite to stay in the world.

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An Adventure

Several sleeps later, I’m still a pile of pain. I haven’t seen a bra in days. My eyes are green-spotted eggs. Under its gray glue, my scar shines through: angry maroon.

Still, you reach toward me in the restless, aching morning. And, coming to my side of the bed like you are asking me to the season’s hottest event, you say: “come on, let’s go look at your hair.”

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Illinois

What would it be like

After all my leaping over it

With the focused intention of an Olympic high jumper,

What would it be like

To lay down my life on that flat, lake-spotted stretch of land

To dig my daughter seeds into the rich black earth

To let their lives spread

Like the Latin names of the flowers in that place:

Angelica atropurpurea,

Iris virginica,

Common

Blue

Violet.

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1. Two

One night when you come to tuck me in,

I ask you what you think it means.

You tell me you think it means all of this,

Meaning, I think, our life together,

Nothing more and nothing less.

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As Sure As Sicher Can Be

I was sure the only way was you.

I was sure of how you filled my tea.

I was sure of the cream-colored corners on the white apartment building,

I was sure of the Continent,

And the convenience of all of it.

 

i wasn’t sure you would ask i was sure i would say yes

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For Jen and Matt, on the Occasion of their Marriage

Though I know you dislike formal titles,

A list poem should post no problem, so:

How about we start with a Craigslist ad?

How about we start with an apartment,

With vegetables cooking on a camping stove

Two hundred feet from America’s wealthiest street.

How about we start with three pairs of hearts:

Two oldest daughters, two non-normies,

And one of us watching the two of you

Become You Two.

This is how it works, isn’t it?

A friendship that turns into love,

A friend that turns to watch it,

To joy in it

Like

I daresay

A hopeful pup.

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Marriage

For some, I’ve noted, marriage is handing the keys of your life over

To someone in whose car you’ve never been.

For some I’ve seen,

Marriage is agreeing to hold your breathe underwater,

As long as the other someone does it longer.

For me,

Though,

Marriage might be

Two artists working in the same studio.

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