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Tall Woman in a Frame

Your eyes are narrowed to keep out the intrusive sun

your mouth a line closed against God, life, a stone

caught in your sensible black shoe


you married a widower twice your age, two children

to head the twelve you had, and two who lie in beds

of quiet inside the houses of the dead


behind the line of your mouth red slippers

dance under purple satin shawls, embroidered skirts

tease violins and somewhere a silver flute signals


platters of pomegranates, pears, their pale juices

lush on another’s lips – blue birds play with bees

leopards offer sweetmeats, pour wine in glasses


sunflowers turn their heads and bow as you climb

that steep slope into the high celebratory air stand

triumphant: but here in the frame, secure, enclosed


behind you a trellis fence, beyond that the tree

under which you were born and where that line began

to carve itself into the newborn pink of your mouth.



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