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Lola Ridge

Betty

You can see the sandhills from our new room.
Butterflies
live in the sandhills
and lizards
and centipedes.
If you keep very still
lizards will think you a stone
and run over your lap.
Butterflies’ liveries
are scarlet and black.
They drive chariots in air.
People in the chariots
are pale as dew—
you can see right through them—
but the chariots
are made of gold of the sun.
They go up to heaven
and never catch fire.
There are green centipedes
and brown centipedes

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The Ghetto

I

Cool, inaccessible air
Is floating in velvety blackness shot with steel-blue lights,
But no breath stirs the heat
Leaning its ponderous bulk upon the Ghetto
And most on Hester street…

The heat…
Nosing in the body's overflow,
Like a beast pressing its great steaming belly close,
Covering all avenues of air…

The heat in Hester street,
Heaped like a dray
With the garbage of the world.

Bodies dangle from the fire escapes
Or sprawl over the stoops…
Upturned faces glimmer pallidly -

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Sun-Up

(Shadows over a cradle…
fire-light craning….
A hand
throws something in the fire
and a smaller hand
runs into the flame and out again,
singed and empty….
Shadows
settling over a cradle…
two hands
and a fire.)

I

CELIA

Cherry, cherry, glowing on the hearth, bright red cherry…. When you try to pick up cherry Celia's shriek sticks in you like a pin.


When God throws hailstones you cuddle in Celia's shawl and press your feet on her belly high up like a stool. When Celia makes umbrella of her hand. Rain falls through big pink spokes of her fingers. When wind blows Celia's gown up off her legs she runs under pillars of the bank— great round pillars of the bank have on white stockings too.

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