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TWO POEMS / Killarney Clary I Mr. Dooms would meet us across the Oakland Bay Bridge at a restaurant which featured "Dancing Waters." Fountains in colored lights. He was a client of my father's; we were to be polite. Later, at his house, his daughters showed us girly pictures in a magazine and then we rode back over the bay to our hotel. I learned about business—that it was a late-night, uneasy entertainment, chilled and full of sparkle. The lights on the bridge and from San Francisco on the dark bay, and the cold car and lack of fun were swept up in exchange for something I would never hear of, because the taboo deals were as delicate as ice in a glass against a glass toasting Friday. This evening, here in Los Angeles, clerks and managers in their smooth, safe jackets ride.the buses home where they turn on lights and TVs. I bend to the sink and as I close my eyes I think—now. I am vulnerable now, in the dark of my own hands, in the simple pleasure of washing. And in the loneliness of slippers and fear of comfort I breathe. I hold my breath. Tonight's anxiety melts into tomorrow's meeting, a few laughs, a loose thread, a demand flying on the city's own wind, "Repent now and be saved." Satan howls up from the gutter drains to argue with brilliant offices and the determined pace echoes on hard, expensive shoes across the parking garage under Pershing Square. I am in between, on edge, patient and gullible while the mail is sorted at Terminal Annex and trucks make their way toward Grand Central Market, from Mexico with melons, with flowers from Leucadia. 68 · The Missouri Review Good business is learning to balance, not to choose or make the boss look wrong. Even though I lose my secrets repeatedly there are always the unfinished and unseen, and they dance with experience, what cannot be forgotten. Another car is hit head-on. Another friend tells me, "Don't look." II Clouds of birds rise above the upper bay, slant into the white sky then bank, black and full; of bees in the ashes in the pause of traffic in the lull of afternoon; of fish, silver, solid then gone, masters of camouflage by light. Swells of kelp, of cloud, of leaves in the new wind from Palm Springs, of ochre dust on the dry edge of idleness. The stores are open and the sun angles harshly onto the window displays, insulting coats on sale before inventory. Even the moon is skittish, up early and pale but whole as the sun. Old, and of a plan. The upper bay, the glitter of it, the heavy pelican that soars only inches from the surface are an hour away through Riverside and Garden Grove. The dust is carried there in a thick haze that gathers itself between Balboa and Catalina and packs down and hovers and drones on. It's trapped and embarrassed and won't stop excusing itself with all the elements of bad luck, except to claim with pride it stands undressed. Out there in the calm, exposed, I might look back toward home. Everything, everyone is out-of-place, moving or turning again, able to see both sides of any argument. And I am there. On shore a woman sweeps her toddler off toward the parking lot for reasons weak and distant to me; but I understand—some discomfort or foreboding, fatigue from blowing sand or the glare, maybe tired joy. I drift away from the determined ones on solid ground. And I am here. An hour away. I've lived within a two-hour drive all my life. The santa anas cease as abruptly as they blew in; Killamey Clary THE MISSOURI REVIEW · 69 the air deadens. After it rains in these mountains, I figure the silt will cloud the channel and fan out where it too can remember as it leaves, the peninsula and Corona del Mar. Nothing will dissolve, not boredom or urgency. The weather and moves we might have made, nag like a child, "Watch me, Watch me...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 68-70
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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