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The Hand Waves Goodbye

Poems from The Hand Waves Goodbye:


Lucky for me he left when he did.
Lucky his crew was homesick.
I’d forgotten how to live my life:
how to eat and dress and sleep
and what to do when I wake.
We spent most of our time in bed
where he borrowed my immortality
and I became almost human.

Will he say I was a witch
who kept him under a spell?
In fact, I was the enchanted one.
I wove his tunics, washed his back,
cooked banquets every day.
And his crew, I let them become
whatever they wanted to be.
Some were lions or wolves,
these were happy as swine.

Now I’m free to roam the woods,
and, of course, he left the babies.
They’ll keep me busy for years
until, according to Hermes, Ulysses’
oldest boy comes back to marry me.
Twenty years means nothing at all.
It will pass like a ship setting sail.
I have no hope for time.
Except this suddenly ticking heart.

The Hand Waves Goodbye

For D.L.

The night before its amputation
the hand decided to run away.
It left a trail of fingerprints
all the way down the hall,
exited the automatic doors.
Passed through the garden,
slapped through marshes,
smacked at the brush, and
thumbed a ride on the highway.

It longed for the voice whose
arm was asleep in the hospital bed
who dreamed of a fist asleep
at its wrist, singing a song the hand
used to strum in the sad hours
after the sun had fallen behind
the hills that tip into the pasture.

The voice’s feverish song
blew night’s sharpness into
the room where music the hand
could no longer make imagined
the wrist that bent to the beat
while it wailed and pounded
the star-pierced sky and it shook
the hand deep into darkness.

Rue de Nevers
after Atget

Wait for me in the Rue de Nevers
on the second floor of the gray hotel
where the sad bed sings our names

and the open window listens
for our footsteps in the empty street.
Wait for me in the Rue de Nevers.

In the Rue St. Severin I dream
of the open window in the room
where the sad bed sings our names.

In the Rue St. Severin I stand
behind the shuttered window while
you wait for me in the Rue de Nevers

and I watch my dripping laundry hang—
wash cloths, trousers, tiny mittens.
While your sad bed sings our names.

Listen for my empty footsteps
on the vanishing cobblestones.
Wait for me in the Rue de Nevers
where the bed sings our names forever.