By Dorothy Barresi
Introduction through Olga Broumas Winner of the 1990 Barnard New ladies Poets Prize
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Drinking and drifting in your honor we barely felt a thing. Page 23 Chin Music I Watch. My father is about to get knocked on his ass crossing the playing fields behind Fredonia High School, Fredonia, New York, where for once Lake Erie holds to the wrecked shore, the sky drifts blue and he isn't punching a fist into his catcher's mitt, that big dumb ear. It is April 1945; practice over. His cleats give him the dancing, half-tough gait of a boy earth loves a full second more than the rest of us, and why not?
The shoe's on the other foot, but we are always exactly the same couple in original rags older than God, than dirt, Page 14 doing the Lindy, the Bop, the oh restless for consummation tango. Not now death; but now, now. Even his hands spoke in radical tongues. Page 15 At the Pioneer Valley Legal Clinic All eyes are lowered in the waiting room of my final visit. Xerox machines whir, operating like any human heart by lights and memory next time, next time, next . . " The clock ticks out Emergency in minutes.
Hypodermic needles and cash registers emptied themselves in your presence. Cars went head-on. Sympathy, old motor, ran out or we grew old, our tongues wearing little grooves in our mouths clucking disappointment. Page 22 Michael, what pulled you up by upstart roots and set you packing, left the rest of us here, body-heavy on the edge of our pews. Over the Reverend's lament we could still hear laughter, your mustache the angled black wings of a perfect crow. Later we taught ourselves the proper method for mourning haphazard life: salt, tequila, lemon.