with the love poem tucked behind the inner band.
She had her backpack, her phrase book,
her connections and her suburban background.
Oh say can you see her falling like a shot bird, blood on the golden feathers?
She came to skate and got the slew foot boot,
a thump on the back and a smirking salutation.
By the dawn's early light I had thought her the world's most beautiful marvel
as she slept and her skin invited my kiss like a host catching the swaying guest.
I thought her a brown Sahara where it rains every afternoon
and the sun is stupid with lazy contentment.
She did business in cafes and book stores, where so proudly we hailed
the baristas and glasses-girls who chose the books we couldn't read.
From a distance she looked like a mistake, a wrong detail in a genius watercolor,
a runaway from another time, heads together with some local joker.
Time thickens when you get bad news.
It's like a heart attack that takes all week.
I wrote her a poem as she slept, and the poem had a silver tongue.
It was something about Morr0ccan markets and calling peacocks,
an opium dream I cooked up stone cold sober except for woozy desire.
I tucked it in the inner band of her baker boy hat, folded with origami care.
I thought she would find it later, a swami love-joke to make her happy,
never knowing I would leave the country alone from a cold airport
by the twilight's last gleaming, the departures flipping over like a folded hand.
for qbit's excellent Akhmatova word list.