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Sally Van Doren

La Pioggia

Cast off the rainbows dripping
on the windowsill and bring back
the clouds closing in on the highway,
I mean, bring back the rainbows
til they drape over the windowsill
and wipe away the clouds
fogging up your sunglasses.
Make sure your bed is cool
and wet and the night is hot
and dry. I mean make sure
your bed is warm and soft
and the night is cool and quiet.
If it matters to you what I say,
I will re-say it until you
fall asleep. The rainbows
help me tuck you in, the fog
and I hover over your bed,
and soon we will envelope
you with our bodies, which were
made to turn you into a dream.

Ancora La Pioggia

I found a trilogy of torrential
rainstorms in the museum
under my bed. With a fish hook,
I procured a paragraph to flesh out
your vital signs. Sponging off
the carbuncles on your chest cavity,
I discovered an isthmus on the island
floating just between the Sculpture Hall
and Old Master Drawings. After taking
the service elevator down to the basement,
I walked around the mummy cases until
I came upon an octagonal urn that held
the remains of an Egyptian princess.
That burnished receptacle also held you
and your mother's teacup. I accepted
your offer of a sugar cube and sucked it
while its corners dissolved on my molars.
My speedometer said time to go hit the hay
so I crawled back up onto the mound
of down pillows and silk comforters,
pulling you up with me on the scaffolding
attached to my mattress pad. We had
a slumber party with all the docents
and didn't mind one bit when the Italian
Renaissance resurfaced. You slept
with the Ghibellines in the Palazzo Rucellai
and I slept with no one but you, as I always do.

Sally Van Doren's collection of poems, Sex at Noon Taxes (LSU Press), won the 2007 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her poems appear recently or are forthcoming in: American Poet, Barrow Street, Boulevard, 5AM, Harvard Review, Margie, The New Republic, River Styx, Southwest Review, and Verse Daily. contact