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ISSUE:  Summer 1980
Involved in a silence such as the flowers know,
a child enters with a hold of insects and string.
In a corner which the sun has not yet reached,
her father is crouched like a tailor under Mrs.Blum.

The sensation of swallowing against one’s will,
—she has it as she counts the sum of her life,
black bull in the dark, zero.

There’s a perversion of self-torture in children:
she’ll dry outward from the heart like a chameleon,
or die of pneumonia while they scold her for coughing.

One day she’ll begin to have to speak of it,
if only to a high room, humorless and blue,
the petal tissue and the sugar cubes too loud,
the waiter’s looks, bait for his trap—

(no telling how accustomed she will grow to that.)
But surely as a mole she’ll spend another year
plastering her tunnel through the glazed adults;

they love to quarrel in the evening by the laurelrose,
should we go south? When they fall they give a pat
to the pleats in their clothes and back they come,

but a girl weeps her whole face away,
driven along a line of party lanterns,
the moon burning like a prison break.
They’re never entirely watching, are they?


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