I round the corner and a wind roars down the street.

All the shops are closed now, for it is very late in the evening.

But someone has left a window in the bookstore open
and the sale signs are flying out, the posters printed
with the covers of paperbacks—

Is that Chekhov’s “Cherry Orchard” or “The Interpreter

of Maladies?” There is a pleasing orange glow
reflected on the damp sidewalks and on the tops
of restaurant awnings. The hem of my long skirt

swirls around my ankles, and I feel a little

like the woman in Chagall’s “The Birthday,” toes
pointed as she floats toward the ceiling. Her purse
the color of a dove’s breast has dropped

to the table where a watermelon lies,
one pink cheek open, seeds scattered
on the patterned tablecloth. She is so surprised

by everything: the flowers her love has brought,
the sinuous kiss that buoys them up like two
balloons toward the ceiling. Her eyes the shape

of almonds saying something wistful, almost gone.


In response to small stone (222).

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