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ISSUE:  Autumn 1998

Let me remember instead how still
were the maples in the silence of Wednesday night,
lamplight shining up into their long gowns
from this window, how that star drew
across the sky all other stars,
a martyrdom for order in the cosmos.

Justice is that tiniest road-side blossom
closing up, and judgement loves
itself around the cannister beneath the wind chime,
comes, like the first hummingbird,
in a rush. Has anyone
ever atoned enough

so we might fall as effortlessly as a feather
through what remains rock hard:
ants in exodus, a knuckle being crunched,
the taste for blood? Mercy
is that brown moth widening
paper thin wings on Jane’s wall

with oval spots, those four maples—
their stillness literally studied—
rose geranium, ivy intertwined.
What about all the others?
Once, in another life, a woman
loved me. And it was hard.


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