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Evening Song

I.
She is running.
A thorn steals a thread
and she unravels.
When she wakes
she plucks a fingernail
from a blooded half-moon
on her shoulder.

So often, you know,
we ascribe our pain
to a delusion

and the delusion
is a wish
to be torn
by another

at least then
you are seen.

In the moonlight
or under the shadowless sun,
a tear in time.
And on this day:
an Event
that included the You
You were,
and somehow
this makes
the You you are now
a little less Less.

II.
Supine on the velvet banquette
in that old bar in north Harlem
she slips her fingernails down her neck
her wrist cigarette thin, lips brooding.
You’d call her arrogant; no softening
to a mouth marroon,
as smoke droops down
double gin lifts up.

Resentment makes us blind
to what is precious and what is rare.
Degas
hated his women
and painted them so:
slouched shoulders, legs askew.
How is it different, I wonder, for you?

So often, you know,
Beauty is a victory
of delusion,
or a particularly elegant submission
to pain.
Eyes wide as prey, cast down
in fear or preparation,
if you are happy it’s an accident –
the wrist, the ring, the dress’s drape.

Her hair she pinned to the nape,
later to be grazed and bitten
by a gentle or not so-and-so
just gliding by –
her eyes are dancers
counting 8’s
Begin
and again
and again another way.

“I have always hated money”
Surprised he wraps her throat.
“And what happens
when that money hates you back?”