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ISSUE:  Summer 1995

Someone said, your poems lack enthusiasm,
and was afraid half the story
would die of that. So I went back
to Charlottesville, five paces north from the fireplace,
faint-fragrant in the hot weather, then west into
the cramped dining-room, as if that would bring me to us
practicing the modes of caring
our hands still knew as one, in spite of our minds—
in from bedding out marigolds in the clingy clay,
or sitting together, the long afternoon,
rounding and rounding the small, egg-shaped pieces,
orange carrot, pale turnip, for navarin printanier.
There would be white straight rain and sudden thunder,
it being Virginia, it being summer,
so that later, in the cool, the dining-room table transported,
largesse of candles and friends on the screen porch, into the dark…
And next day come so soon, day falling through day through the screen door. . .
And so autumn: the heavy pear orchard of the stars;
the birdseed bright as salt on the rare ice,
and seven purple finches; the robin on the first of March;
the ashtree that was our guardian and the moonlight
you wanted to stay out in, for your poem
where it walked through the houses and left them all one house,
transparent, unthreatened; and I too often, nervous
of trying to hold the moment, dragged you in.


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