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ISSUE:  Winter 2006

It is the year the sky reminds us
some mistakes cannot be mended.

The year, dime-eyed and listless,
a fever came to kill him.

Imperceptibly the windows
creep towards the floor,

the black bay whitening
and widening with the squall.

It is the night the lights
on the far shore hurtle backwards:

the drugstore, the hospital,
the sleeping doctors all

dissolving in the roar.
I want to ask the dark

who died and made me king:
three times I’ve filled the tub

and three times dipped him,
burning, in the water.

Not because I know what I am doing,
or because it helps,

but because the fathers and the mothers
whose job it is to save us

are all frail, or far away,
or gone forever into their graves.

It is the hour of nothingness,
and of that lamplit silence

in which sleep alone has the power
to bring my mother back,

a blue boy in her arms
as she whispers Lord

have mercy.
Lord have mercy on us.


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