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Linda Pastan

Petit Dejeuner

I sing a song
of the croissant
and of the wily French
who trick themselves daily
back to the world
for its sweet ceremony.
Ah to be reeled
up into morning
on that crisp,
buttery
hook.

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Pears

Some say
it was a pear
Eve ate.
Why else the shape
of the womb,
or of the cello
Whose single song is grief
for the parent tree?
Why else the fruit itself
tawny and sweet
which your lover
over breakfast
lets go your pear-
shaped breast
to reach for?

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The New Dog

Into the gravity of my life,
the serious ceremonies
of polish and paper
and pen, has come

this manic animal
whose innocent disruptions
make nonsense
of my old simplicities--

as if I needed him
to prove again that after
all the careful planning,
anything can happen.

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Marks

My husband gives me an A
for last night's supper,
an incomplete for my ironing,
a B plus in bed.
My son says I am average,
an average mother, but if
I put my mind to it
I could improve.
My daughter believes
in Pass/Fail and tells me
I pass. Wait 'til they learn
I'm dropping out.

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Jump Cabling

When our cars touched
When you lifted the hood of mine
To see the intimate workings underneath,
When we were bound together
By a pulse of pure energy,
When my car like the princess
In the tale woke with a start,
I thought why not ride the rest of the way together.

Anonymous Submission

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Shadblow

Because the shad
are swimming
in our waters now,

breaching the skin
of the river with their
tarnished silvery fins,

heading upstream
straight for our tables
where already

knives and forks gleam
in anticipation, these trees
in the woods break

into flower--small, white
flags surrendering
to the season.

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Wind Chill

The door of winter
is frozen shut,

and like the bodies
of long extinct animals, cars

lie abandoned wherever
the cold road has taken them.

How ceremonious snow is,
with what quiet severity

it turns even death to a formal
arrangement.

Alone at my window, I listen
to the wind,

to the small leaves clicking
in their coffins of ice.

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Love Poem

I want to write you
a love poem as headlong
as our creek
after thaw
when we stand
on its dangerous
banks and watch it carry
with it every twig
every dry leaf and branch
in its path
every scruple
when we see it
so swollen
with runoff
that even as we watch
we must grab
each other
and step back
we must grab each
other or

[...] Read more

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Emily Dickinson

We think of hidden in a white dress
among the folded linens and sachets
of well-kept cupboards, or just out of sight
sending jellies and notes with no address
to all the wondering Amherst neighbors.
Eccentric as New England weather
the stiff wind of her mind, stinging or gentle,
blew two half imagined lovers off.
Yet legend won't explain the sheer sanity
of vision, the serious mischief
of language, the economy of pain.

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What We Want

What we want
is never simple.
We move among the things
we thought we wanted:
a face, a room, an open book
and these things bear our names--
now they want us.
But what we want appears
in dreams, wearing disguises.
We fall past,
holding out our arms
and in the morning
our arms ache.
We don't remember the dream,
but the dream remembers us.
It is there all day
as an animal is there
under the table,
as the stars are there
even in full sun.

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