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NIGHT RATE / Diane WaId Possession, the demon shyness of it, and I said, "I'm no good at holding on over the phone," or I meant to say it. I meant somehow to piece you up like a tower of swift petals: what you are. Your voice sank and soared and I knew my own had cut too clear, like a radio on a beach blanket, abandoned. I was reading when you called, wearing a long ignorant tunic, dusty, not even drinking wine or anything else: why I wake up dry. Can you hear me now? You walk away from the words, drop lonely. I picture your room round, impossible, a thick shag carpet grabbing at rays of your only light. You leave the light on and pick up something shiny in the street. Did I say, "Be careful"? They tell me I did. Too cold, a revision of summer, a slot of ice in rising bread. And everything hollers, everything has its own secret noise. I wanted just to speak some shade to protect you from the tin lids of dreams—from the deep, invisible, boned-out wound; but I was no good, too far, and fool enough to ask for facts. I keep meaning also to buy flowers, revenging this room for leaving you, for the way the walls moved perfectly out when you spoke, away from the corners. The Missouri Review · 51 THE MOON'S WAXY REFINEMENT / Diane WaId Every so often I come home. This house, behind the rock-strewn wall and the flame crocus, sits as warmth sits in a friend's hand, as warmth in a friend's kiss gone astray, pressing mistakenly, wildly, on your lips. (In the sincerity of the moment, all awkwardness is forgotten.) It's a house where nothing is ever put away. A tawny living-room, a brambled bed. (Lean back on the blue pillow, lean in the summer night, down, down, put down the amber glass, and once again helpless, help yourself, help him. Be quiet, for you never will forget.) This is the house of the lie, and the golden promise; the house of the lilac compliment, the withered worm, the sky. Smoke drifts out through the screens. Every so often I have to see. I come home. First I drive around for a while. I sail in neutral up the silent street, watching the house and its relative shrubbery beckon. I think about taking people there; I think perhaps I have done this once or twice. (Encouraging, that, to bring a person home. I show him the painting; no one's in the room. The pink moon gives headaches. I wash my hair.) A spirit, or something without a family name, so kindly floats with peacefully closed eyes, the eyes of a child fringed with wet lash, and it floats along asking nothing, as if it were going to a very pure kind place. I think about taking people there. I go alone. I wish you had felt as I did about it, the summer nights were very fine, and I stopped at a phone booth that first warm night to call you, I said I am going home tonight for a while, and I'd like to see you again when I return, but you couldn't hear me, I guess you couldn't hear. The moon that night was elegant, large, and waxen. The last thing I saw was a very small grey hen. 52 · The Missouri Review Diane WaId ...


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