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ISSUE:  Summer 1995


Death is the opposite
sex. Listen to it.
Bells have been rung
in the tower for years,
a clangor meant to stun
the angel I slept by.
I wanted to believe
it was a casual gesture
to fling my leg
so easily over its waist.


The angel watches me.
I am the child running
in the vacant playgrounds:
while the chains whine
in the empty swings,
I plunge across
the cold metal bars
hand over hand.
Then the angel says:
Take this child.
Put my name on her.
Rub her bones together
and make a woman.


The tree is a tall one.
I am paralyzed
by the burden of its doves.
And my mouth . . .
I was a circle that spoke.
I tell you,
my mouth is dry.


If I rise at dawn to pick,
set my ladde
and step rung-by-rung,
I can fill my apron
with oranges.
The oil of a broken rind
stings my fingers,
and I have to wonder:
how can I be tamed?
I will not eat.


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