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In the Alley
from Scissor, Paper, Woman


Dimmed now
nearly doused by urban glare
they glimmer up there
pure and far beyond us
locals blinded here with neon

pinprick hints of firmament
that pulse a bit and resonate
their silence
once you've noticed it
almost dissolves the nearer
night-shift kitchen clatter

We the young long since
in pique or rage
packed up and left
but those little fold-hand mothers
attentive as ever still hover
at the parlour window

Hieratic their obsolete orbits reflect
the past as perfect
old-time    hometown    lyric...

Such lights won me once
but were forgotten¾almost
I stashed the image in a blue plush box
a matchless necklace
but the smoky pearls
(when the thread broke) rolled
and then were lost
in layered scapes of cosmic dust

Dismal that distancing
though at the time it felt
as sane as gravity
reversed¾just common-sense
like falling off the earth

But often in the hard nights since
on a break for breath
out in the lane I ask

Which quavering
o which thin gleam
will see me through
the broken dishes and the noise

Which star Stan and whose
calm colloquy do you suppose will rise
above the guffaws of the boys


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