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Red Again


ISSUE:  Fall 2005

Brush fires burn below in the valley
and we talk of the hands in my friend’s garden—
ceramic palms that rise through the lilies
as if someone were alive in the dirt.

Hands this open and calmed, should the loss
of a daughter be turned loose in this rainless month of wind.

The man from Darjeeling tells of the hill-station
where a farmer asked that his hands remain outside the grave
to show he left with nothing.
Flute notes lift from the rapids,
and on the trellis a buzzard skeleton winks its Christmas-light heart.
Red again, then dark. Jewel in the bone tree.

My friend wonders what this man from far away
will make of her art and handmade quarters—
river stones mortared in as flooring,
the handrail on the steps, a twisted polish of rushing water.

And behind the house is the barn she moved uphill,
board by board, to hold her paintings. One canvas
hangs in the loft—pointillist’s net-of-a-cat
poised among the cardinals.

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