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ISSUE:  Autumn 1981

There drifts the sky again,
Here, a single thought crawls slow as a flea.


In one version your yawn is so brutal
the plaster beside your head cracks.
In another version you drown in three inches of gray
  soapy water.

“Last night,” says a friend, “I seem to have fallen
with my clothes on. Sitting in a chair by the bed.
My first thought was—Did he take my travelers’
My second thought was—Dear God, are we all still

A vacuum cleaner’s sucking drone, overhead.
The odor of disinfectant. Fingers swollen like white
  sausage from the bathwater.
Empty freight cars are rattling past, rattling happily past,
on schedule.

Waxen fruit—”apples,” “pears,” two “plums”—
    layered with dust:
pray for us. In a chair by the bed.

There drifts the sky again.
Here, a rag is stuffed in your mouth.
Gag. Chew. Swallow. Gag. Smile.
Your sense of humor is so refreshing.

In one version your smile is a consequence of the
    Buddha’s blessing.
In another version—”a quick frontal lobotomy
with a coat hanger.”
And did you really do it yourself? Your fingers never

Here drifts the sky into the room, through the open
The tattered clouds disport themselves. And then
to your calm breath.


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