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ISSUE:  Winter 1998

When lovers watch the unlovable guy transforming until the gal
chooses him, part of the miracle is Eros growing up

the rest is their pleasure, watching. Some nights
pleasure is so dressed up in grey silk, so French,

she seems an evil flower. After delicious sex you sink
into that sleep where the unborn stay

motionless, perpendicular. You forget the taste of sole—
lemony, with a dash of parmesan and parsley, the garnet

bowl, rosepetals mixed with camellias, a shifting of season, a suite
for cello, es-dur, after the volcanic October sunset, your passion

matured into humor, your groom into mate, a naturalist
who noted that a cancer-claimed wife gathered her family,

announced, no more, and two days later died. The repeated
melodic line, kids skipping down a dirty downhill street,

a grinning girl, her arm flung round her buddy’s shoulder,
a boy on a rooftop flying a red kite—these make assaults

bearable. Pleasure is a participle—surviving, thriving . . . .
Summoned, the dreamer sees a neighbor, a stranger

watering the tree you two planted—planted, fed, jealously
watched—the fairytale, this side by side life, this tree

with its miraculous mimosa-like blossoms—Watered!
as if it and all that it is emblem of, belonged to him


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