10.4 (Summer 2006)
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Phoebe NorthListen


conjunct of Miletus and Front Street

he took you from the mountain and shouldn't
you be grateful, not searching those four corners
of the finished basement apartment,
leaving silent indentations on the soggy carpet,
dancing across the linoleum while he is office-gone.
he leaves you bundles of babies breath
every evening and though once you were courted
by bowed worshipers he tells you not to look
and you still don't.

tell him that it was your sisters who wove
those beads of suspicion through you,
made you search closets for old journals,
rolled joints and let them burn, lighting
bullet holes in paper, blistering those words
he'd never let slip even when sleeping.
it's too late. you've spilled the oil,
left marks in the shape of your fingers and toes
and he's stretched his wings and already gone
through the gasping window.


Eulogy I: Dulcinea

It starts the way all stories
start: the frenzy
in the kitchen,
the overturned Quaker
chair, the torn upholstery,

the skin on her lips
chapped and peeling,
the raspberry mark
at the base of her throat
a mirror of my own. They
were all in love with her.
I thought I might be missing

She told me the gods
favored drunks
and children and the
chemical equation
for transmuting base
metals into golds,

one shoelace dragging
behind her across the crimson
shag carpet; she was an even,
could only take swallows in two,
eight, or fourteen.

When she took off
her stocking I could see
the ghost moth on her ankle.
Not a sparrow or a butterfly
but those white wings
pressed to the hot glass
of a bare light.


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