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Plain Sight

ISSUE:  Spring 2006

My neighbor moving
in a doorframe     moment’s
reach of her hand     then

withdrawn     As from
                      some old guilty pleasure

Smile etched like a scar
which must be borne
in a photograph taken against one’s will

Her son up on a ladder stringing
along the gutter
electric icicles in a temperate zone

If the suffering hidden in plain sight
is of her past her future
or the thin-ice present where
we’re balancing here
                               or how she sees it
I can’t presume

… Ice-thin.     Cold and precarious
the land I live in and have argued not to leave
Cold on the verge of crease
                                         crack without notice
ice-green disjuncture treasoning us
to flounder cursing each other
Cold and grotesque the sex
the grimaces the grab

A privilege     you say
to live here     A luxury
Everyone still wants to come here!

You want a Christmas card, a greeting
to tide us over
with pictures of the children

then you demand a valentine
an easterlily     anything for the grab
a mothersday menu     wedding invitation

It’s not as in a museum that I

and mark in every Face I meet

             under crazed surfaces
traces of feeling     locked in shadow

Not as in a museum of history
do I pace here     nor as one who in a show
of bland paintings shrugs and walks on     I gaze
through faces     not as an X-ray
as paparazzo shooting
the compromised celebrity
nor archaeologist filming
the looted site

nor as the lover tearing out of its frame
the snapshot to be held to a flame

but as if a mirror
forced to reflect a room
                                    the figures

standing     the figures crouching


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