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ISSUE:  Winter 1988
The front door, a sort of childhood
uncle: a tall drink of water, and private.
Long afternoons of not opening once. The kitchen,
meanwhile, its threshold worn to gossipy splinters,
was host to dog nest and dish and a cornucopia
of bills. But now, the house locked up, no one
at home, the answer is the same.

A misplaced key—always standing for something.
Even the once-welcoming ivy festoon
has been sacrificed to a fresh coat of a peculiar
shade: not peach, not yellow. A bark! The beloved
pet, at least, is still among the living.
Likewise the prehistoric ginkgo that litters
the walk with paw-shaped leaves.
Through a window, glimpses of a bereaved chair,
and white stones in a shallow bowl—no reader
here, nor sifter of long, green stems.
Just this cool glass pressing against the palm,
the silence of its wired alarms.


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