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Poem: Understanding Anita 

If a hurricane, Ophelia.
Sensing someone behind
watching her hips swivel
beneath the long dress.
A half-turn of the head,
dark, plain firm profile,
the steady look that says,
“you’ll do what I want.”

If a city, New Orleans.
Not a cold virtuous doer
of occasional good deeds.
Loved for being free
of guile and greed.
Innocent despite the fog
of alcohol and smoke.
A salty tear of the sea.

If anything, the tide.
Water catching dull green
from a cannery wall,
tossing it into a brightness.
She stands in unraked sand
looking out at the foam
tinged with red, blood
of the coming storm.

  • Poetry is edited by Phillip Levine.


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