Playing chess on the oil tablecloth at Sparky’s
Cafe, with half & half for whites,
against your specter at noon, two flights
down from that mattress, and seven years later. Scarcely
a gambit, by any standard. The fan’s dust-plagued
shamrock still hums in your window—seven
years later and pints of semen
under the bridge—apparently not unplugged.
What does it take to pledge allegiance
to another biography, ocean, creed?
The expiration date on the Indian Deed?
A pair of turtledoves, two young pigeons?
The Atlantic whose long-brewed invasion looks,
on the beaches of Salisbury, self-defeating?
Or the town hall cupola, still breast-feeding
its pale, cloud-swaddled Lux?

This Issue

September 29, 1988