#12 winter solstice 2013

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My collection of bird nests knocked down by the ice and wind is formidable. My shoe laces are often untied. After my father died I sat out on a city stoop in the rain and lit cigarettes with a friend in honor of my Dad who smoked too much. It was hard for a vehement non-smoker to pretend, but it was a mysterious honor. I accept the topographical error in my childhood atlas and photograph sunsets not for enlargements, but to focus on an intimate imitation of my mother's habits.

Peccadillo by Mary Ruefle
I love you like pink tiles and white cigarettes

and the brown underfeathers of a fat hen

and I do not even know you, you are like my toes

which I have never seen because I was born in shoes

whose laces continually come undone

so I am forever stooped and while I am down

I gather for you all the porcupine quills

left by the rain, my collection is formidable

but not for sale, and when I am up

I make for you color enlargements of the day:

look at this cloud will you, until you arrive

I will not know if the rain fell beautifully

or dripped continually, I assume by now

my commitment to you is transparent

and that you accept the topographical error

in the depths of my atlas,

still there will be many mysteries between us,

you were not exactly here when my alarm clock was stolen

or my cat sold without my permission,

but those days are behind me,

after a life of expensive moments devoured by fogs

they mowed the fields into haystacks,

they covered the haystacks with white shrouds

and rolled them off to the side like stones

and brought in the trembling lights of a carnival

where it is my one desire

we will hang together upside down on the wheel

while the crowd gasps as you kiss me.

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