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ISSUE:  Winter 1986
Because the past cannot bear to part with her
the present suffers. So we wait
in a lobby under the eyes of chandeliers,
in train stations, on a street corner
and at midnight in the graveyard with a spirit
who waited in this world and waits in the next

for her October hair and bright May skin
have taken since the beginning of earthly time
and will take forever. Time goes with her
and wherever she stops the moments turn and spin;
little seconds are doves eating out of her hand,
but when the hours call she does not answer.

Because her worth lies beyond question or value,
kings have died for her and worlds collided,
wide skies caved in and hills leapt in the blue.
Her touch can melt the icecaps, make
buttercups flash in the desert, and wild daisies.
Poets have climbed to Heaven singing her praises.

It isn’t for spite she keeps you waiting there
at the small end of night’s telescope. No,
it’s not to belittle you with your bruised corsage
and trail of crushed cigarettes, left behind,
your shadow of beard, the useless theater tickets.
You are probably the farthest thing from her mind.

Maybe a street-singer took her by surprise, or
the pattern of a scarf, scarlet and pearl gray,
made her pause and muse in the window, then
the moon would not let her go until it passed.
Maybe later in the street, admiring children
circled her on skates and led her away

laughing, into a wide park where it seems
her gentle protests failed as she tried on
their silver wheels and showed them whirling figures
they had seen before only in dreams.
Because of this, and the endless flattery of twilight,
the gay breeze beneath the sad story of each star

she must honor the times that make her beautiful.
And the wonder is not that she is late tonight
but that anyone has ever seen her at all.


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