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ISSUE:  Autumn 1979


The house is a shambles
And the servants are gone

As Mother
Calls from Tampa
Crazy as a loon

The surf has lost its savor
The pigeons are sour

I’m there in the mirror
My throat runs to salt

As Father in the garden
Touches the magnolia
The petals float about him
The petals that are bitter
He turns his eyes from you
  Once they were sweet

  The owl sighs in the forest
  The dahlia sniffs at the moon

At night
Mother cries
Gulp it

Swallow it
A wave of water
And it’s over

But the steps are broken
The lots have been cast

You’re on a freighter

A door in the attic
Creaks in the sun


Why are the baby whales
Blooming like roses

Why are the tigers
Snapping at the stars

What is Mother doing
Dancing with a sailor

Why does Father’s belly
Slump at the wheel


Is it rye is it resin
Is it grain is it flour
Is it orange is it apple
Is it nutmeg is it vinegar

  Not that

The moment
The sparrow tests the worm
Swart with the color
Of a dead dandelion

  Not that

The moment
The elm licks its spine
The hemlocks along the drive
Collect a fork a spoon

  Not that

The moment
The woman sits at the table
And stares at the man
The man tears up the letter
And scrapes at his plate

As the hawks fly over
The clouds that are stone

  Save me
  She shrieks


Does the woman have sorrows
She’ll buy a new hat
Does the man have enemies
He’ll bang down the phone

Mother beneath her veil
Hides the kiss of the sailor
Father biting the papaya
Slops the seeds in a well

  Far off the storm grows
  The rug sings the milk flows


  In the depths of the jungle
They’ve been hunting the animal

  In the depths of the jungle
Tilting the spaces of night

  In the depths of the jungle
Where the sailor is smiling

  In the depths of the jungle
As the woman cracks another bottle

  In the depths of the jungle
As the man weeps over Barren’s

  In the depths of the jungle
Where the natives are gathering

  In the depths of the jungle
Holding aloft the heart of a goat


  Yem will not die for them
  You will not be born

Father is he lengthening
To judge where you’ve gone

Mother is she ripening
In a shawl of scent

  Hunger of shadows
  Is it your path

  Ghost in an arbor
  Is it your spirit

Now the woman combing her hair
Over a long stream

Now the man rising to meet her
So our journeys begin


There are tongues that condemn
There are gullets that betray

  If it’s foul
  Spit it out

  If it’s unnatural
  Let it be

As rain fills the valleys
The tips of the mountains

  Mother eats her purse
  Father burns her photo

  With a little laugh
  Both disappear

You move from bazaar to bazaar
One taste one smell everywhere


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