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We were young, in a large city.
I slept on the floor, and you brought books.
Jazz combed my hair. You played the sax.
I did not care if the snowstorm outside
whirled moths in circles, smashing wings.
Here, my youth stood on the sidelines:
In the past, two neighbors dead of alcohol,
like cut trees stretching toward sky’s water.
(It had been a block of churches and secrets,
love in attics, sirens, incense, and tattoos.)

Years before, when I was mugged
while walking home from school,
some part of me drew back, became
resistant to remembering. And so--
from here to there, not looking back.

Imagine approaching philosophy with
Imagine, studying great universals:
Love, war, Crime and Punishment.
when I knew what the hands knew—
that the unquiet eyes of birds,
were always larger
than their circles of flight.
In this city, women disappeared.
Angels walked through doors in their used coats.
And you, whom I loved,
took care of me—
understood that grief was merely
a sleeve of light.

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