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Afternoon Nap


ISSUE:  Spring 1991
Inside my theatre of dreams
the short flicks follow
one another madly, all different
but with the same sweet
European sadness, the odd symbols
that seem to settle everything
but don’t, as when a man
gives up on love and sees
from his window a child’s parade
of barnyard animals.

When the phone rings and ends
a flight of green balloons,
I could be anyone from any century,
a field hand wakened in the barn by geese;
but slowly I am who I think I am,
a man caught napping, clearing
his throat to bring the voice in pitch,
trying to conceal the truth.

A neighbor wants to borrow sugar,
which I take to the backyard fence.
Somehow she knows that if she asked me
quick what day it is I couldn’t say.
Later, as I wash my face, I see
in the mirror what she must have seen,
the perfect imprint of the sofa
cushion on my cheek, a mark
that won’t rub out, emblem of laziness.
Outside the window, someone plays a flute.

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