Then comes laughter

If I arrive at a crumbling tenement
with a balcony overlooking the silent courtyard
and its perfume of dying geranium, wet soil….
if I arrive
at a room dim lit by candelabra with framed
portraits of unknown hanging the walls and rugs
of Arabesque maze coating the hardwood…
if I rest
my elbows upon shrinking velvet, my ears cut
to violins strung
clothesline to clothesline…
if I possess
the world’s library on warped shelves, the murmur
of living mouths mouthing trysts
and insults—laughing their youth
mocking the middle harangue, hacking
at age…
and if you could border the scene with
the river’s lapping mass, my eyes drawn
to the water’s well, catching
glimpses of moons and gables
in the smothered muddied banks…
if you could grant me this moment
this fulsome poetry and not cast it
so quickly from my grasp
but let it bobble
an evening on the rapids—let it lay
against my bare body quilt, like the legs
of a first lover—
let it breathe
against my neck and skull,
cover me whole
breast to breast
belly to belly
toes to toes…

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