Spring 1984 • Vol. VI No. 2 A Gathering of PoemsApril 1, 1984 |

Exhalation

Clouds converging from opposite directions: the clothes on the clothesline can't find a rhythm. No chance anyone's arriving today. The dead are never coming again, not in this language or any other—not even the one that grants them the familiar. Climbing the steps to the stone cathedral I felt a cold wind issue forth. Outside, the tombs were unleavened loaves on a bad baker's shelf. But yesterday she came. An open window, open just an inch. On the hill the trees formed a corridor through which the air threaded until we were face to face, a photograph that kept dissolving, but the voice bell-clear and hers. She spoke, or I understood. What she said I've already forgotten. Forgotten the words but not what they meant. What they meant but not their surprise and quickness. No one to overhear us. On the neighbor's step a man slowly opened his eyes, water in an aging fishbowl. She left as she came, a withdrawn sigh. A day later, clouds from the east, the west, close

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