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Deborah Ager

(1971)

Night: San Francisco


Rain drenches the patio stones.
All night was spent waiting
for an earthquake, and instead

water stains sand with its pink foam.
Yesterday's steps fill in with gray crabs.
Baritone of a fog horn. A misty light

warns tankers, which block the green
after-sunset flash. My lover's voice calls
to others in his restless sleep.

The venetian blinds slice streetlights,
light coils around my waist and my lover's neck,
dividing him into hundredths.

Would these fractions make me happier?
My hands twist into a crocodile.
My index finger the tooth that bites

Gauguin's Tahiti. My thumb is the head feather
of a California quail crying chi-ca-go.
Night barely continues. Is this the building

staying still? Is this hand the scorpion
that will do us in? A few of Irving Street's
sycamores will blue the air come morning.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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