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In the time it takes to cool a cup of tea,

I have thought about you in a thousand ways.

Worry not even seeded. That’s how young we were then.

On the street at twilight, I saw a man

And it was you, then.

Glinting eye professor---

Straight back.

In no particular hurry.

And I’m still me, the scholar,

Unsullied by little cancers, repetition, and the mistake of following

Good advice.

In that particular moment, I’m free, the clay just dried.

Not wrinkled, thickened, full of wisdom.

I’m not even in love with you in that particular moment.

And that’s better for both of us.

In the time it takes to sip the tea, down to leaves,

I have thought about the thousand days we tried.

Instead of love, we buried something with roots.

Incarnated, damp.

Grown by moonlight-a glowing ball of wool,

The sky studded with needlepricks to a brighter world.



Until last month or so, I was the patroness of nature and magic,

A friend of slaves, sinners, artisans

Protector of the dead.

Don’t let the heavy eyeliner fool you. I appreciate the irony of our

shared name.

You’d think after all these centuries, there’d be less savage methods

to resolve our differences. But then

Again, I speak with a more or less permanent view of our mortal


The mystery of crucifixion, crusades,

hair shirts, Buddha’s awakening,

voodoo, burning bushes, monks,

vows of silence, chastity, obedience, Oprah, Oz, Quoran, Vedic

Verses, Sanskrit, Inquisition, Popes, Padre Pio,  


The blood of innocent, the hapless adventurers still congeals in the

sand like dark pomegranate jelly.

And a mother’s cry for the unbearable loss of an only son echoes to

heaven again.


There is the smell of brakes grinding upon

the approach of a station--

Metal and sparks burned down to a powder

inside the car, invisible reminder.

Red seats cradle the bobbing heads, wiry gray,

caps and scarves like the tops of birds,

now all asleep.

But others are awake waiting.

Soon we arrive at Grand Central Majesty-

last century’s brass, the echo of cities and numbers

One more stop to go.

The girl, three rows ahead has a voice of sugar,

the boyfriend’s goes deeper---of innings, seasons, games, good


but thinking of her open lips,

the sheen inside her lips,

Her hair is pulled caramel.

And the others:


the rasta’s black, red, yellow green crochet like a beehive;

a young man dreaming, his fingers twitching like flies.

The giddy girls,

The cellphone junkies.

This week has been what it’s been.

Hands on the burled boardroom table--- a sea of starfish,

Meetings, summaries of summaries, and the presumption of guilt

By any party aware that there are just two suits separating us each

from each other, the boss, the dean, the writer, the temp

This week has been what it’s been,

This train is taking us in.

The speed of passing blackness,

Like the city ahead, glowing,

But the reflection of my window doesn’t move until I turn away.

I will empty into the station,

Passing the architecture of opinion, storefronts lit, doors locked

tight, the rumble and roar, manhole covers plunking, and steam


Returning safely 

To everything I am terrified of losing.



You, my love, are an orchid. Delicate, fragile, and rare.

You suffer the slight ambient change, the gardener’s rough hands;

Wilt from shrill sounds, seek partial shade.

And I fear you will not survive.

I’m no rock. But of heartier stock---more hedge than flower.

A place to hide behind, a thing to trim, to shape in topiary.


I am still your storyteller,

Still surprised I can impart wisdown to your questions.

“Tell me again, tell me again, what to say and when,” you repeat,

again, again, again.

I cling to myself, or drown under the weight of all your


I exercise restraint, avoid the sour complaint, until I feel it seeping

to a darker place.

I am the silence in which your voice is heard.

I am the blue branch, and you are the bird.

I know it won’t be over until one of us is gone, but I still wonder

why we never mention our deaths, the fear of going, the fear of

being alone.

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