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ISSUE:  Autumn 2001
In the dark
we play tag:
can you see me?
Can you touch me?
We miss each other
by inches, by the breeze:
how can we miss
by so little?

And Father sits
at the kitchen table
picking at the food
we should have finished.

A thrush sings coldly
in the fine rain
and the voice between us
chants in triumph:

No backsies, no babysitting,
no dognipping, no black magic.
One, two, three,
get off my father’s apple tree. . . .

Now he pushes the plate away
and opens his immense book:
page after page of names
he must learn by heart:
he combs his thinning hair
with his fingers and gazes
at us, his reflection. . . .

But we are invisible.
Just a gap between bodies.
Crazy laughter
from another planet.

In a blink he grew old
in the golden window
where every line
on his huge dark face
was written in fire.


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