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After Reading That the Milky Way Is Devouring the Galaxy of Sagittarius

ISSUE:  Winter 2005

—at the Dorothy B. Oven Memorial Park

I’m certain Mrs. Oven
meant to be nice
when she bequeathed that everything
in her garden should be nice
forever. This explains

one version of paradise:
the tiny gazebo with fluted
pie crust for a roof, the footbridge
spanning a tinkly stream
small enough to step over.
Even this snail drags

an iridescent skid mark
around the fountain’s marble
lip. His shell is an enormous
earring like the ones my mother
wore to prom in 1957,
that large, that optimistic.

And because we’re never alone
in paradise, my son is here.

He’s stolen a silver balloon from
the wedding party posing for
photos before a copse of live oaks,
the trees shawled in moss like
hand-tatted mantillas. Secretly,

I applaud my son’s thievery. And
the bride as well, five months
gone I guess, wearing Mouseketeer
ears with her stupendous
gown. Good for her. Best to keep

two hands on your sense of humor.
Best to ignore those other worlds
exploding, how violently, how
quietly they come and go.


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