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Song of Basic Necessities

ISSUE:  Summer 1979

for E. F.

The day hates you and the wind has stolen
the coat from your back. Take this poem.
Unfolding it from the page, it becomes a cloak.
Now as you walk through the streets of winter,
you listen idly to the talk of the unfaithful:
how you must have flattered the sun
for it to give you a ray to wrap around you.

You are hungry and haven’t eaten for days:
the food of the world becomes ash in your mouth.
Take this poem. Now it is a banquet: wine, fish,
freshly baked bread. You invite your friends
to a clearing by the river. Just as you fear there
won’t be enough, more food appears and the glasses
refill themselves like the feast in another story.

You are lost and without shelter. People
avoid you, storms seek you out. Take this poem.
It is a tent to put around you. Warm within it,
you prepare for sleep, while in the rushing
of the wind you now hear the voices
of your friends. They speak of their love for you.
They hope tomorrow you will come home.


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