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--- T O B Y   O L S O N

The burden of enchantment comes upon us Angeline. Again, it's midnight and crowded in the cabin's one room heav in smoke and smell of alcohol... and you are just thirteen, but wide awake!: there, in your glands and tresses in an easy chair, long legged and languid, skirts and seams in trousers brushing your arms and hair.

Later, just the two of us and phosphorescent crescent of moon waning -C you later- where pebbles turn down under the last lap ...both feet in my palms.

Like a lurid face on a magazine cover, it could have been lights across the water, onerous footsteps, approaches, a dark door. But we stood in the glow of a porch light, cheeks hollowed in flourescence, and below the gulls drifted as if it were winter, squawks of aggression and hunger: this picture. Perhaps then it was the sea.

It was close to day break, the house rudderless, though shadows turned and disguised it; it may have been a river and no sea, in reality, your mother.... Who was your mother? And yet it was that smoky cabin, the men drinking, those women in justifiable short skirts dancing, scent in a spill of Pablum, ...above which I'd winked down at you fatherly: let's go for lake's shore in the moonlight, then turned in at the gate.

(There were generous beings also, Sandy and Margaret, just skeleton faces in memory of a past.)

It could have been light across the water, the bay's beach justifiable in the evening sun, a footprint of light on water in the shipping lane, discernible motion, and the beach walked at sundown for its jetsam: cabbage and green beans in a basket, nausea in rot of timbers, and the early fishermen, their lights too pathetic and mercurial, yet stronger as sun sinks.

Sympathetic? Swallows' silhouettes at cliff dwelling in the undermined escarpment, their shadow razors drifting below wobbly houses, drainage pipes, exposed cisterns, thick wire cables twisting in the evening's air. How magically the moon rises in these ruined eaves, after image of some lost potential, suddenly that sliver. C you later.

...and stepped down in the water, wobbly in heels and adolescence, folds of her silk shirt razors above breast buds

...but the new moon

It could have been lights across the water ...her foot held firm in my palm

It was the edge of a river yet straps of patent leather and water staining her white stocking

sweat on a nun's peplum, wobbly,

but a woman's calf and patella ...above which

It was close to day break ...both feet in my palms

...wobbly, and reaching out to me... This can't be true.

A bassist among weeds at the path's side, Margarét, and flowers grown up in the wicker: coreopsis and a lady's slipper, wild asparagus in poison ivy.

I saw your bones from shadow at the porch rail, then Sandy's skull face in the cabin window, fatherly, and looking down at her (lake's shore in moonlight, maybe?): let's go. Then you touched my elbow. Margerét, who was her mother? Let's go down again in the lap of moonlight. Perhaps it was a river.

Scent of Pablum and dirty diapers, smell of her grandmother's coffee cakes on the sill, then turned in at the gate: old man in the glow of a porch light, and below the gulls were drifting as if it were still winter.

Angeline, you were just thirteen and wide awake. My forehead pressed to the hard wood at the frame, that picture: memory of a door opening into weather. It was summer, and themen were drinking, Sandy dipped at the Pablum, folds of her silk shirt razors. Let's go to the lake's shore in memory. Somebody's pressing the hard wood at the door's frame in reverie, that's all.

Sun rosy in the bay's waters now, low tide after storm. But that was an hour ago, the bague message always in the passage. Perhaps it was a river, discordant melody of a figure risen up on flood, rot wood turned by shadow to a body imagined there in sleeping.

Sun rosy in the lake's waters now, template of sun, daughter or dark cistern, wet-work of an animal hunting voles at a path side seen through a window, skeletons in a cabin; where's Sandy? Margarét's feet in phosphorus at the shore, standing over the body-bag. "Coo fas ter utter?"

And who was the man standing beside her, those garbled words, and Margarét turning her skull in the sun, shielding, this head lifted to see my neighbor: cabbage and green beans fresh from her garden, wobbly, and reaching out to me?

Like a lurid face on a magazine cover, image of a lost or regretted lover, each memory is a stand-in piety for you, each morning's waking nervous to green bean's and bassinets, yet straps of patent leather... somebody holding a bloody slipper, my coffee cup wobbly on the sill, and the finch playing her veil down at the feeder, scattering thistle, daughter or dark cistern.

Squawks of aggression and hunger, a gull, on a post, at the pier later. Canticles play the soft wake at the shore, a drone of detectives and forensic clicks, murder, or the enchanted opening of a cabin door. Sea, lake, or river: it could have been lights across the water. It could have been this carapce of a crab.

Now morning's dream in perpetual calendar. Now that the beach die gracefully in this waking, offering the prized object, jetsam, or even a stone tricked up in salt water. Who was her mother? The tarot cards fall for another, meditations only for the converted. This can't be true.

At the party the men were drinking, their black suits hung stylishly from thier bones, and the skeleton women in justifiable shorts skirts dancing, Angeline, in her flesh in an easy chair. She was just thirteen. A knock at the cabin door: wobbly, and reaching out to me... then it's the absence of Sandy, the body-bag, and the bone stare of Margarét, perhaps ...both feet in my palms: hesitant, or delayed.

And my daughter and I strolled down to the store in moonlight. We could see lights across the water.

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