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AUBADE / Robert Gibb This morning, the 18th of June, I wake in the light of heaven Annibale Carracci hung on the ceiling Of the Farnese Gallery. The day flares like copper From the leaves of the beech, The wind-chimes bright as apples In the clear, burnished Italian air. Perhaps it is only an old grammar I am beginning, again, to hear, The chance flurries of Vivaldi, Their complexity of simple delight, But somehow it does not seem strange To find the 17th century Flourishing here in Pennsylvania, Early mornings late in the spring. All night I have been dreaming Of the sadness of gloves, of skins In which the body is missing, Like trying to remember home. Now I see once more How the body comes back like the world Waking through all five senses And the ones beyond. Every day my father woke to a glare Like water breaking across his eyes, Bathed in the cold dawn of Pittsburgh, And walked away uphill. No music, No squares of sunshine unhinging themselves Like whole piazzas of heaven From the ceilings of Rome. Only the trolley Swaying beneath its grid of sky, 26 · The Missouri Review The pigeons in Pittsburgh Ringed and colored as oil slicks. Down in the garden I watch the mockingbird That sang by my window last night. His breast soft and sfumatoed, Wings half out, he hops down a row Of bean poles, as if in love With such intervals of distance and light And the way he moves among them, The way this morning Even my father walks with trumpets Clear to the top of the hill. Robert Gibb The Missouri Review · 27 HOME / Robert Gibb It is always grey— All those years, early or late, It is evening And I am going home. It is ham steak Or cabbage, and my father Looks up from his plate, And the woman who dresses us both Cuts into the meal Of leather and bone And in a voice hard as her fingers Says, "Your dinner's in the oven getting cold." Home is where you wonder What went wrong. Where you got over The fear of dying, the fear Of being left alive. Where your father wept at meals, And the woman wept in her garden Among the weeds, the roses Which ripped into bloom Like rags About their wounds. The house was grey And the streets The color of light falling From the First Book of Kings, The color of the river Being freighted past the mills Where grey was made, Where it poured From the smokestacks, Falling upon you Until no matter where you were Everywhere was home. 28 · The Missouri Review Robert Gibb SEEING PITTSBURGH / Robert Gibb Is what it's called. What it is Is a packet of photographs That unfold together, Back to back, in a pleat Of 20 scenic views of 1938. Black and white, They are dyed the hard Primary colors Raphael chose For his painting of the Virgin, The infants Jesus and John Balanced upon her knees. A composition remarkable For its triangles, The pale flame Which suffuses their peak In the shape of a woman's face. Here the triangle Lies upon its back Between rivers pointing west, And is filled with buildings, Bridges like buttresses Holding it in place: A city in the confluence Where history is the marriage Of geography and race. This is the point Washington fell back from In 1757; where my grandfather Found in America The Glasgow he left behind— The God whose eye was anthracite, Whose breath was the cloud of fire Which hovered over Homestead. In this picture you can see The mills in which he died. Here are the Fair Grounds At South Park, the Race Track Where I picture him at the turn Robert Gibb The Missouri Review · 29 Of the century, like Cagney In The Strawberry Blond. This is the Leona Theatre Where every Saturday we lived In the earthly heaven Of the movies, the back rows Where flesh took hold Of the breath in that building Of peeling angels Falling from the ceiling, And light falling Its incredible miles Per second onto the screen. The sky...


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