I’ll give it that

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pretty soon
pretty soon
pretty soon

now

tomorrow always comes
I’ll give it that

 

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There you were

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There you were
helping your friends
who were not yet married
before their reception
by cutting something small
smaller,
carrots or cucumbers,
something.

You were being mindful
of the knifeness of the knife
and how strange it was
not because it cut
but because of the way
it cut

and in consequence
you were working
slowly,
holding up
everything and everyone
that depended on you.

I loved you for
your mindful sluggishness,
and how you were unconscious
of your beauty
in the beautiful moment

so now
I think sometimes
how if that beautiful moment had lasted
I might have married you
and you me
and how eventually
someone else would have had to take over
for both of us.

And I think:
how lucky
one moment
doesn’t lead to the next.

 

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Paris was fine

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Paris was fine,
though the girls stared at us
whenever we took the bus,
and the bus we boarded
was never going to our destination.
Paris was fine,
and then we left it
and haven’t thought of it once since then.
Until today
Paris was just fine.
But today there were
these girls on the bus
who cast knowing glances at me
all the way, who giggled and
who as they got off
spoke loudly to each other
in a language I didn’t understand;
who left me on a bus
that wasn’t going to my destination.

 

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Supposing Wishes Fishes, Night a Well

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I spoke a wish into the dark,
as if I dropped a fish into a well,
then paused for a returning sound to tell

if water caught it, not dry stone,
not dead coins only. Not a sound came back:
That wish went its own way, and left no track.

The night is long. Where may a wish not go,
when every word’s alive, and each is true?
In such a span of time, what can’t it do?

Under the hood:

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Grandfather was a longshoreman

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and as he went along the shore he hummed,
Grandfather hummed, and not for feeling gay,
but as a signal that his work was well begun
that he had well accounted for another day.

The cranes along the waterfront, grotesques
with names he’d mastered in a foreign tongue,
were marvels that yet left him unimpressed;
were giants he walked fearlessly among.

The immigrant assurance in his breast
rode him to a new world, and made him brave.
He passed what he presumed was each new test
and strove until he landed in his grave.

 

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