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A watercolor hangs upon a wall
where I reside—a very pretty scene,
a church in Italy, drawn simply, all
infused with red and yellow, blue and green.
Surely, you must have liked it once, because
you chose to buy it, bring it home, display
it double-matted, framed—whatever flaws
it has, that I can see, its charms outweigh.
To me, the piece continues to appeal—
although the site abroad is still unknown,
the many months have made the painting feel
familiar in a place that I co-own.
In fact, it is no longer strange to find
that I enjoy what you left behind.
Walking home from the library
through the park and the light
this late April afternoon
returning after an all-day rain.
I love it when the low moves off
and the skin begins to tighten. Adventures
seem possible, even likely. I was
my ideal age again for an hour or two.
When the wrought iron gates of the park
appeared, I entered, moving
past the statue of the boy with model boat,
the Gibson girl with hoop skirt
and ribboned hat with wide brim.
I was floating sticks down the gutter
after a heavy rain in 1962
and there was nothing in my future
telling me this would never happen.
I love it when the low moves off.
Rain ending. Light returning. Skin tingling.
Everything before me.
When roofs were orange
dancing trees dressed in skirts
slung low on hips, and when
the road pooled into a river
while fields breathed out of time
and each afternoon unfolded
into an emptiness of flower beds;
only the sky spoke, blaring blue
staccato onto the stuporous town
behind whose white walls
all the colors lay screaming.
At dinner tonight you confide
that you have listed me as one
of the people you’d like to speak
at your cremation and I am speechless
as a shy student being lectured by
a teacher, gulping my New Zealand
Sauvignon blanc instead of savoring it
sip by sip, picking up a Szechuan shrimp
with my chopsticks without looking
at you, remembering how you covered
your history test with your hand when
I tried to copy your answers in high school
and how last year they named a Chicago
street after you, but that’s all incidental—
we are the same age, after all, even if
you are older from July, ha-ha, and
once again, I must apologize to you
as well as Eric constantly, for my
apparent longevity, my mother still
alive at 98, able to collect the cards
while playing War, my father strong
until his rupture surgery at 87 and
his two sisters 102 and still cooking;
who knows what our bodies will do,
however, between the tempura
vegetables and finally the lime sorbet.