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LOVE POEM / Debora Greger Your beautiful face, O word, shines in a curve of the night that fully envelops me. Such immense passion and none of it in my account. Carlos Drummond deAndrade Light plane of fiery water, the long tearing of free-fall: when, as a boy, you spoke of a previous life, your mother treated it fictionally as if that were not just easier but kind—the way the time she wakened herself mumbling, your father drowsily consoled her, "Shut up, it's only a dream." Visiting your parents at the old house, you end up searching for something to read and a chair in good light. In the kitchen your mother contemplates leftovers crowding the refrigerator —where to begin finishing? She freshens her drink instead. You want not to believe she's your mother. She isn't. When I write you, read paper. Whether love or hurt, read letters striking the page and already regrouping a little distance ahead with the randomness, the remoteness of possibility. I love you. That boy knewfuselage, rip cord, altimeter before his mind learned to forget or to invent itself and a world with a firmament of names that, this time, might hold. 18 ¦ The Missouri Review A HERMITAGE / Debora Greger My father and I are fishing. Rather, he is figuring what will interest the fish he's sure lurk in this reservoir. Finally I'm too old to demand he bait my hooks, old enough not to throw rocks where he's cast. I can taste the dust filming whatever's exposed; but the water's so cloudless I can see sunfish circle his line, medallions to the cord that will turn them to a gold-beaten jewelry. One of these fish my father will work his hook from, careful not to tear its lip. He will club it deftly, once; scrape the gold scales, hands glittering; and slit it swiftly along the underside with the thinned blade of habit, fierce beauty unadorned by sentiment. Out of stillness, a freight train sways and screams across its trestle, the waving engineer the first person we've seen out here. Heat follows in wafts from the tracks. Glassy water shatters in rings where my book fell, a hermitage my father has no need of. The Missouri Review · 19 321 NORMAL STREET / Debora Greger A minute in the world's life passes! To paint it in its reality, and forget everything for that! To become that minute, to be that sensitive plate. . . Paul Cézanne Claiming, "You don't have to like fruit to appreciate Cézanne," my neighbor sweeps the bitter oranges fallen on his sidewalk, leans on the broom to survey his redolent, rotting handiwork. Concern with the shape of things is what his words sketch—split globes of fruit spilled harsh-hued into the gutter, as unlikely there as they seemed on the tree. When he speaks of his grandson, it's as sculpture, the baby's elegant nut-like head, toenail a shell's operculum. Detached, our aging houses rear behind us, mock Spanish stucco next to neo-colonial, drafty as stage-sets. Blank-eyed walls face us squarely as if nothing were behind them—no shriveled still-life molding in its bowl, broken glass, slipped knife, child crumpled, leg at the wrong angle at the bottom of the stairs. An actor who steps through the muslin next to the door he's supposed to use for his exit is only embarrassed by the flimsy weave 20 ¦ The Missouri Review of every day. How easily the painted shingles and shadows tear. Behind looms something like this street, cars battered in the natural light, a man gripping a broom handle with fingers that no longer uncurl. Debora Greger The Missouri Review · 21 ...


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